ID Theft Ruins Lives

Staff Writer @ Lucid Living

IDENTITY THEFT has risen at an alarming rate since consumers no longer have to lose their identity document to be defrauded.

Marcus Mufamadi, who is currently based at the Tel-Aviv Embassy, cannot buy a house until his name has been cleared by the credit bureau.

Mufamadi claims that he has not lost his identity document but someone used his name to buy cookware on credit from Home Choice.

He wanted to buy a house but discovered to his utter shock that he was blacklisted for goods he never purchased.

He once bought linen from Home Choice, but he claims he paid that debt off in 1990.

“That was the last time I bought anything from them,” said Mufamadi.

Ten years later, three months after he had taken occupation in Israel, Home Choice listed him as a bad payer. He said it was through his estate agent that he discovered the “bad news”.

Home Choice later gave him a delivery address he does not know and date of delivery that showed the purchase was done in his name.

He said though he provided Home Choice with proof that they had been defrauded it had done nothing to clear his name.

How To Protect Yourself From ID Theft & Fraud:

* Your identity document is one of the most important documents, and it should be looked after at all times. If you lose your identity document, driver’s licence or passport, you must immediately go to your nearest police station and report the theft and get a case number.
* Always keep your identity document, passport and drivers licence in a safe place.
* Be wary of disclosing personal information. First find out how it will be used and if the information will be kept confidential.
* When you are requested to fill in personal information on documents, ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate.
* Check if someone claiming to be a company representative does indeed work at the company in question.
* Keep a record of your accounts and follow up if they do not arrive on time.
* If you move to a new place of residence, change your address on your accounts without delay.
* Do not use predictable passwords such as your date of birth or telephone number on your bank accounts.
* Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the post or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know who you are dealing with.
* Keep items with personal information in a safe place. Tear or shred documents such as credit applications, bank statements and receipts.
* If you have service work done at your home or employ outside help, do not leave personal information lying around.
* If you have been the victim of ID theft, you may be affected negatively and it could have a negative impact on your good name and credit record.
* Get a copy of your credit report. This will highlight any new accounts that have been oped in your name – so you can determine which one’s are fraudulent.
* Protect you identity by contacting the SA Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) and ask them to register your case. You will then be given a protective registration number to quote when applying for credit in future.