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What to do if you’re a victim of ID theft

24 February 2009 AIG

According to the world’s largest insurance company, identity theft is one the fastest growing crimes globally and part of the battle against this scourge is to limit its life-interrupting impact by acting swiftly as soon as you think you may be a victim.

Wally Gast, Personal Lines Manager at AIG South Africa that provides protection against ID theft for as little as R4 a month, said that identity theft is the unauthorised and illegal use of personal information to obtain a loan or open credit accounts that the victim did not authorise.

“ID theft is on the rise not just because of how much personal information can be accessed via the Internet but also the ‘low tech’ ways that this crime can be committed.

“This can happen when people lose or have their ID books stolen, when criminals go through your garbage to find old accounts and statements or swipe your mail for the same purpose.

“People really need to take care with documents when they throw them away. Shredding documents before disposal is a very good idea.”

Gast also notes the notorious cases where Home Affairs has issued duplicate ID books using the ID number of an innocent person.

“There are also a lot of cases where people have discovered they are ‘married’ to someone only when they start getting massive bills in the post.

“It’s worthwhile to have protection against this type of crime especially as it’s so prevalent in South Africa. Getting your identity back can take weeks of personal time and could cost tens of thousands of rands in legal fees.”

Identity theft insurance typically reimburses the policyholder for out-of-pocket expenses such as legal expenses they may incur in order to resolve issues surrounding an identity theft.

Gast urges anyone who has been a victim of ID theft to follow all these steps:

1) Report the theft to the local authorities / South African Police Services

2) File a complaint and complete the ID Theft Affidavit

3) Report all fraudulent activities to the main Credit Bureaus via phone and follow-up letters

4) Contact all institutions / creditors with fraudulent activity by phone and in writing

5) Send follow-up letters to the Credit Bureaus detailing the status of resolution with Institutions and Creditors.

6) If you have insurance against ID theft, claim from your insurance company

7) Institute preventative measures to lower your exposure to identity theft

 

Identity theft insurance typically reimburses the policyholder for out-of-pocket expenses such as legal expenses they may incur in order to resolve issues surrounding an identity theft.

Gast urges anyone who has been a victim of ID theft to follow all these steps:

1) Report the theft to the local authorities / South African Police Services

2) File a complaint and complete the ID Theft Affidavit

3) Report all fraudulent activities to the main Credit Bureaus via phone and follow-up letters

4) Contact all institutions / creditors with fraudulent activity by phone and in writing

5) Send follow-up letters to the Credit Bureaus detailing the status of resolution with Institutions and Creditors.

6) If you have insurance against ID theft, claim from your insurance company

7) Institute preventative measures to lower your exposure to identity theft

Identity theft insurance typically reimburses the policyholder for out-of-pocket expenses such as legal expenses they may incur in order to resolve issues surrounding an identity theft.

Gast urges anyone who has been a victim of ID theft to follow all these steps:

1) Report the theft to the local authorities / South African Police Services

2) File a complaint and complete the ID Theft Affidavit

3) Report all fraudulent activities to the main Credit Bureaus via phone and follow-up letters

4) Contact all institutions / creditors with fraudulent activity by phone and in writing

5) Send follow-up letters to the Credit Bureaus detailing the status of resolution with Institutions and Creditors.

6) If you have insurance against ID theft, claim from your insurance company

7) Institute preventative measures to lower your exposure to identity theft

 

Identity theft insurance typically reimburses the policyholder for out-of-pocket expenses such as legal expenses they may incur in order to resolve issues surrounding an identity theft.

Gast urges anyone who has been a victim of ID theft to follow all these steps:

1) Report the theft to the local authorities / South African Police Services

2) File a complaint and complete the ID Theft Affidavit

3) Report all fraudulent activities to the main Credit Bureaus via phone and follow-up letters

4) Contact all institutions / creditors with fraudulent activity by phone and in writing

5) Send follow-up letters to the Credit Bureaus detailing the status of resolution with Institutions and Creditors.

6) If you have insurance against ID theft, claim from your insurance company

7) Institute preventative measures to lower your exposure to identity theft

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