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Your credit report and identity fraud

Posted: 29 May 2014

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The risk of identity fraud

Hiding your personal files under the bed, shredding important documents and locking away account details seem like good ways to protect yourself against identity theft? Think again. You may believe that only reckless, uninformed and naïve people fall victim to the cunning traps of identity thieves, but the unfortunate truth is that identity theft is not that hard to pull off. In South Africa, it is estimated that identity theft costs the local economy R1 billion each year. As technology evolves, so do the techniques for thieves to get their hands on your personal info and with more people using internet transactions, you need to be more aware than ever before. Today’s identity thieves are far more ambitious than in the past. Not only do they want to steal and use all the available credit on your cards, but they will use your personal information to obtain cell phone contracts, rent cars, open clothing accounts and even take out home loans. Very few people will realise that their identity was stolen until they are denied credit. As a victim, you may only come to know of it once you’re wanted for defaulting on a payment. As a result, your credit record may be a mess that will take months or even years to fix, costing you a lot of time and money.

How do I safeguard myself?

  • Get a copy of your credit report as regularly as possible (once a month)
  • Examine your statements
  • Safeguard your passwords and identity number
  • Shred receipts and statements before discarding them
  • NEVER give out personal information over the phone
Register with us to get your personal credit report Monitoring your credit data is the best way to prevent and recover from identity theft. To help you, we offer a comprehensive alerts system that will notify you when any important changes on your credit reports happen. By subscribing to receive your regular credit report, you get access to our monitoring service which offers you the ability to be in control of your report and the information displayed. It alerts you via SMS of any activity and changes on your report. Regularly checking your credit report allows you to immediately identify if someone attempted to apply for credit in your name. You can also identify any enquiries conducted and see who accessed your credit report and when – this can be very useful in predicting and preventing possible fraud.

What to look for:

When you request your credit report, make sure you thoroughly examine every piece of information. Under your credit history, you will find a description of every creditor that you received credit from. The information will include the name of the creditor, the date when the account was opened, the repayment frequency, your outstanding balance, your credit limit and also any payments you skipped or missed. There will also be a detailed list of all enquiries that were made against your name. This means you will be able to see who has looked at your credit report and when. These enquiries will usually take place when you apply for credit with a credit provider and they need to access your credit report to determine creditworthiness. It is very important that you check that no enquiries were made that you were not aware of, as this could be a sure indication that someone is trying to fraudulently apply for credit in your name. Make sure to examine the section containing public records information. This contains information on judgments, defaults and notices and is an indication of whether legal action has been taken against you for non-payment of credit.

What should I do if someone has received credit using my identity?

If your credit profile reflect accounts that you did not open you should contact the companies that have listed you and request that they provide you with the application form which you allegedly signed when you opened the account. Should the subscriber fail to do anything about it then you can log a dispute with Compuscan.

What documents do I need to provide when logging a dispute?

  • Your reason for logging the dispute
  • If you are disputing a judgment or admin order, we will need a rescission document
Click here to log a dispute The National Credit Act (NCA) provides you with the right to dispute any factually incorrect information on your credit report and to have this information corrected. Logging a dispute with Compuscan is FREE of charge. Why pay one of the many “credit clearing companies” that charge money for doing something that you could do for free? Once you have logged a dispute with us, we have 20 business days to investigate the dispute. If we do not receive any feedback from the credit provider within 20 days, we will amend the data in your favour and close the dispute accordingly. If after this time we have not done so or you are not happy with the outcome you can contact the Credit Information Ombud.

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