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Five Ways To Prevent Identity Theft

We live in a world where we get scammed every day. Be wary of phone calls from people claiming to be from banks or credit providers that try to gather personal information about you.

To prevent identity theft or phishing scams, it’s important to do security checks to ensure the people who are contacting you are who they say they are. WesBank says here’s how you can prevent scams:

  1. Safely store personal information – All personal information that could be used to open an account should be stored safely. This includes ID documents, ID numbers, passports, pay slips, bankcards and any printed documents with personal information. When using these documents to apply for an account, ensure that only authorised bank staff makes copies and that the originals are safely stored at home – away from prying fingers.
  2. Discard information securely – Shred expired driver’s licenses, unused bankcards and old account statements when no longer used. It is not uncommon for criminals to sift through rubbish to gather information on their victims. Printed accounts and copies of personal information readily available in a nearby bin will make their task easier.
  3. Browse with caution – If you use online banking or digital application forms, you should never click links in e-mails or text messages. Instead, go directly to your Bank’s website to access these functions. This all but eliminates the likelihood of login information being stolen. Also, avoid entering account details or personal information on public computers, while your home computer should have the correct security software installed for the best in safety.
  4. Check your credit profile ­– Using the services of the credit bureaus listed below, you can check your credit profiles to see which accounts are open in your names. This is an excellent way to see if any unknown accounts are active. It’s also wise to close down unused accounts to improve credit scores.
  1. Report suspicious activity – If you suspect that your identity has been used in fraudulent activities, get in touch with the relevant bank, the South African Fraud Prevention Service and the credit bureaux immediately. Visit www.safps.org.za 
or call 0860 010 1248.

Source: WesBank

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