Ricochet News

In light of the data breach in SA here are some tips to avoid identity theft

By Jesica Slabbert - Oct 20, 2017
In light of the data breach in SA here are some tips to avoid identity theft

Following the dumping of a massive data cache, which reportedly had the personal details of around 60 million South Africans, the South African Fraud Prevention Service on Friday warned consumers to proceed with caution.

Arguably, the largest data breach in the country’s history, the data dump was discovered by an Australian security researcher and contains information such as identity numbers, salaries, addresses, age and other personal details.

The Hawks are now investigating, but Manie van Schalkwyk, from the SAFPS, warned that this breach should not be taken lightly.

“Among the sensitive data amounting to about 27 gigabytes, the information includes identity numbers, personal income, age, employment history, company directorships, race group, marital status, occupation, employer and previous addresses,” said Van Schalkwyk in a statement on Friday.

SAFPS has warned people from attempting to verify whether their information was on the database or engaging with any services that offer to show you.

“You could be leading yourself into further jeopardy by providing somebody else with data with the understanding that you will verify if you are on the leaked dataset.  You might provide legitimate information to an illegitimate source,” added Van Schalkwyk. 

In light of this data breach here are tips to take into account to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of Identity theft in the future:

  1. Shred all documents that contain your personal information and do not throw anything away that someone else could use to impersonate you.

  2. Always remain attentive at ATM’s and ensure that no-one is attempting to gain access to your pin number.

  3. Make sure all your accounts have strong passwords that are not easy to decipher.

  4. Never respond to an e-mail or sms that asks you to insert or update your personal and banking information by clicking on a website link provided in the content of the message. Rather copy and paste the link into your internet browser, as this will enable you to determine whether you are accessing an authentic website, or not.

  5. If you receive a call from an unknown individual who requests personal information, rather offer to call them back to verify that the number they have given you in fact belongs to the correct company. Also, ask them to give you the personal information that they need to confirm, instead of providing the details yourself.

  6. Be very selective with the type of information that you share on social media sites and make use of privacy settings.

  7. Only carry identification documentation such as your passport or identity book when it’s absolutely necessary and keep these documents safely locked away when not in use.

  8. Do not get taken in by scammers who send messages telling you that you have won a prize, or inherited money.