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Rise in identity fraud in South Africa impacts consumer credit data
The latest Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) figures show that ID frauds are on the rise in South Africa, which is a worrying development in a highly credit-dependent world. On the basis of the figures for the current year, 1,370 cases were notified to the SAFPS as of the end of April 2014.
Notice: These figures show the cases covered; the real figures are higher. South Africa estimates that ID fraud is costing the locals R1 billion euros each year. There were 20, according to the latest National Credit Regulator Credit Bureau Monitor. Sixty-four million credit crunching South African users by the end of December 2013 and each of these users is asked to give special consideration to the risk of deceptive activities that could impact their credit data.
Compuscan, one of South Africa's premier credit agencies, has been monitoring the issue closely, trying to inform and help consumer confidence in the adverse effects of credit scams on their credit reporting. "It' s disturbing to see how fraudulent identities are becoming.
Even more worrying is the fact that often people do not know that they are victims of such a criminal offence and this could have serious adverse effects on their capacity to obtain credit in the longer term. "Every open bank or credit operation carried out under the name of a user is included in his credit report.
The report is intended as a benchmark for credit institutions to show how well customers are managing their bank accounts. Frequently, a consumer will only find that he or she has been a target of imitations if he or she checks his or her credit report to obtain a home loan, shop financing, auto financing, etc., or if his or her application for credit is rejected.
Keeping their refunds up to date gives customers the confidence that they have a sound credit history, but it is important to verify that this has not been jeopardised by fraud. Under the National Credit Act 34 of 2005, every South-African citizen is eligible for one free credit report per year, but despite the high number of credit-active users in the nation, only about 14,000 South Africans apply to receive their free report from Comuscan every year.
"It is important that credit card users keep a careful watch on bank accounts under their name to avoid identification scams and recuperate from them. It is one of the measures that can be taken to safeguard the integrity of your credit documents. "Compuscan has introduced the first on-line credit reporting service for individuals named My Credit Cheque (www.mycreditcheck.co.za) as a simple and convenient way for customers to keep abreast of their creditworthiness.
It is a user-friendly way for South Africans with current ID numbers to track the full records of their finance histories, borrowings and expenditures, payments histories, billing patterns and contacts and ensure that this information is accurate. With My Credit Checks, you can choose to display a single report or limitless report on an accessible three-, six- or twelve-month monthly plan.
Compuscan also offers a full alert system to credit would-be customers, informing them of any changes to their credit reporting, to those who log in to the credit office to obtain periodic credit reporting. Loan-seekers can protect themselves by receiving a copy of their credit information as often as possible and checking each item of information well.
They should also check their claims thoroughly, keep their password and ID number safe and destroy supporting documents and declarations before disposing of them. Where the credit report of a customer reflects that his credit has been misused to open an account, customers should immediately turn to the credit provider who list it and ask for a copy of the claim document supposedly to have been endorsed when the bank was opened.
If this is not successful in solving the issue, the consumer can turn to Kompuscan to resolve a case free of cost. Under National Credit Law 34 of 2005, individuals have the right to have objectively false information denied and rectified on their credit report. SAFPS also provides free support to customers who are victim of ID Fraud.