Identity theft in SA has become one of the largest major concerns, especially in an economy that bases so much on credit. The surprising factor is that even those that feel they have done everything to protect themselves, may find their identity stolen and they are swept into a world of chaos and doubt. The key aspect in this crime is to act fast and stop the perpetrators at every turn. This is part 2 of a 2-part series and you should read everything carefully in both articles.
Databases are being hacked and you may never know how your information was stolen. This type of crime is happening around the globe. The criminals that have stolen your identity know they have a limited amount of time to accomplish applications for credit cards and then they move on to the next person. There are critical steps to take and while it does involve your time, you can take action to curtail the damage. These actions need to be taken immediately. If you are a company, you will want to contact a security specialist that can work with you to stop illegal charges and information.
6} Once you have reported the identity theft to all companies and the credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Compuscan and Experian South Africa), and placed a ninety-day fraud alert, you will now want to begin gathering the paperwork to allocate a seven-year fraud alert for the credit reporting agencies. All three have a method to apply online, but they may be limited in the document sizes that you can upload. Contact each one for the official document and requirements needed for the seven-year alert and then complete them and get them in the mail as quickly as possible.
7} One thing that most people don’t consider is the fact that the criminals have applied for credit in your name, with your address. Contact your local postal delivery service as well as the national headquarters to check to see if there has been any ‘change of address’ made. If so, cancel it and inform them of the identity theft. Criminals may have your mail redirected so that they can receive new credit cards in the mail at a different address.
8} Keep in contact with the law enforcement official that has been put on your case. Let he/she know of any updates that have occurred since the original police filing. The authorities will contact each credit card company and they will have the ability to get additional information that you do not have access to.
9} Go through all of your online accounts and change the passwords. Don’t use any new password that could easily be guessed or that is similar to the old ones.
10} Some criminals will make attempts to file taxes under your name or your company name. Contact the tax authorities and complete all paperwork required to report identity theft, even if they haven’t accessed your tax filing time period. You may be assigned a specific ‘code’ that will be required for any/all tax filing to ensure that you are the rightful filer.
11} Understand that once you experience identity theft, this will be a lifelong process. Most criminals may stop accessing your information and may instead sell it off to someone else on the dark net. The fact that you have a seven-year fraud alert will be the first step at keeping additional criminals from taking advantage of your identity information. You may want to sign up for one of the guaranteed identity safety programs. Know that these can be pricey, but once you sign up, they will not only send you alerts for any new credit attempts but will also search the dark net for any locations that may contain your personal information
12} When you fall prey to identity theft you may experience a desire to have the criminals punished. You will need to understand that a majority are not punished and even when they are stopped, there are hundreds that will take their place. Your goal is to focus on getting your identity theft condition stopped.
“Our Da Vinci Forensics team works diligently with companies to assist in educating both organisations and their staff on the methods to use to protect themselves from identity theft. In a case of identity theft, we will assist in moving the critical actions forward that are time-sensitive. Fast actions can reduce the damage.”