It will never happen to me!

Famous last words – but the reality is that millions are being affected by identity fraud across the world, every day.

Why is that?

Negligence mostly, but there are a number of reasons, and its best explained by telling you just how easy it is for these cyber thieves to steal your identity.

1. Mail Theft

This is both physical snail mail and electronic mail. They look for bank statements, change of address forms, cheques, medical bills, credit card statements, and anything that has an account number, your identity number or address on.

How they do it – well, physical mail is easy, unless you have a locked post box. And, even then, they will search your bin and dumpster too. (Invest in a shredder!) . Electronic? Simple hacking through weak passwords normally does the trick.

2. Theft of a wallet or purse

The easiest way and the most effective. Pick pockets are still a thing! They now have your Identity Card in hand, your credit cards, your other points cards (which also have your personal info on) and perhaps even some cash to get them a ride home.

3. Skimming of cards

Through credit card machines, bank tellers, and a variety of other ways, these cyber thieves are able to take your info off the card, duplicate it and return your card to you. You will be totally unaware of what has gone down, but your bank account, and possibly your identity will be in jeopardy.

4. Phishing

We have heard the word too many times, and no, it’s not the kind you do with a rod and sinker. This phishing technique is when our thieves attempt to obtain your private information via a falsely written email where they claim to be from a legitimate organisation. They will normally ask you for your bank account or ID number to verify who you are. You should never give out such data via email or over the phone. Check with the organisation whom they claim to be from first. And, if its a “You inherited a zillion bucks” kind of email, delete permanently and move on!

5. Pretexting

A method of obtaining your private data through false pretence, normally over the phone. They will spin you a story that generally sounds quite plausible, ask you to do a survey with them, and sound like they are the real deal. But, in the end, they may ask for you to confirm your details with them, i.e. name, ID number, address, cell phone number, even bank account details. They then use that information to steal your identity – and the way they do that is to troll your entire online life, phone the banks you bank with, the doctors you use, the school where your kids go, your work, etc. etc. Armed with all your personal information, they attempt to start taking over all your accounts, and basically your entire life.

Identity Theft is no joke! The scary part out of all this is that if you really think about it, you probably have given out your private info to strangers a few times in the past month without even giving it a second thought.

While you can be more vigilant about what you say and who you answer on emails, it is good to know that there is insurance cover for the unfortunate possibility of identity fraud.

Affinity Group offers IdentityProtect, providing you with a warning notification for when your Identity Number gets used at all. By becoming a member, you will receive an SMS notifying you of the usage, and further will assist you in finding out who used it. Should you discover it is an identity theft attempt or success, IdentityProtect will assist you in putting a stop to it.

Rather be safe, but when you have done all you can to protect yourself, there is IdentityProtect.

Connect with us to find out more.

Available for corporates and individuals.