Category Fraud/Crime

Alarming increase in Victim of Impersonation

20 August 2010 Southern Africa Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS)

Southern Africa Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) reports that in the half year January to June 2010, an alarming increase in reports of Victim of Impersonation has been noted. In the same period in 2009, a total of 596 reports were received by SAFPS, but in the corresponding period this year more than 1050 reports have been received.

"The majority of reports revolve around the fraudulent use of identity documents which in the main have been either lost or stolen," says Pat Cunningham, Executive Director of SAFPS.

"A significant number have also been obtained through the continuing problem of corruption in the Department of Home Affairs," he says.

Although every effort is being made by the Department to clean up the problem, he does not believe that this will happen until a new identity document system comes into being. "This, in turn, will obviously take several years to reach all of the South African population," he notes.

SAFPS also reports an increase in the number of fraud reports from its members during the same period of nearly 20% and although the values involved have reduced slightly, Cunningham believes this is due more to the more stringent granting requirements by the major lenders rather than a downsizing by the fraudsters. The National Credit Act has also played its part in reducing the values of frauds, but not the actual attempts.

The SAFPS Protective Registration service continues to grow with an increase of more than 400 people applying for protection with the service over the 2009 figures, due to the theft or loss of identity documents.

It is important that the general public registers with SAFPS' free service when they lose their identity documents or have them stolen. In this way, SAFPS can help to protect the consumer by circulating the details of the identity document to all its members, which includes the major banks, retailers and other financial institutions.

SAFPS currently has more than 54000 people filed to its systems who have committed fraud against one of its members.

"We are determined to fight the fraud problem in South Africa and in our ten years of existence, our members have prevented more than 3 billion rands worth of fraud through our data sharing services. As a non profit organisation our first concern is the prevention of fraud, not the bottom line," Cunningham concludes.

SAFPS can be contacted on (011) 869 6460 or e-mail or visit the website

· The SAFPS Help-Line can be reached on 0860 101 248.

· For Protective Registration, e-mail

· To report a suspect fraud case, e-mail For Shamwari and general enquiries
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