S.Africans are casual with their personal information: experts


Identity theft involves the fraudulent use of someone’s personal information such as name, identity number or other distinguishing information, to commit fraud or other crimes.

Carol Mcloughlin, executive director of Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) dealing with banks, retailers, insurance and telecoms says it assists clients when the alleged perpetrator can be identified.

“Not many fraudsters get caught as tracking identity fraudsters is like dealing with a ghosts [someone not easily identifiable],” said Mcloughlin.

Since inception in 2001, SAFPS has successfully prevented an excess of 5.5 billion rand in attempted fraud.

According to the fraud combating organisation, more than 56, 000 confirmed fraud incidents have been filed to the SAFPS database.

Sylvia Papadopoulos a mercantile law expert from University of Pretoria said there was significant credibility on the database.

(WATCH VIDEO: Identity theft on the rise in S.Africa)

“At present we do not have a specific legislation in place that deals with that kind of information but we are expecting relevant laws to be in place in two years,” Papadopoulos said.

Papadopoulos says South Africa is not advanced as Europe in combating fraud.

“South Africans are very casual and sometimes naïve about protecting personal information compared to Europe that has been with protection of personal information over 20 years,” Papadopoulos added.

South Africa could have a new law called the Protection of Personal Information Bill in two years which will set conditions for how people can process information.

Papadopoulos says people should use their instincts and when they feel uncomfortable giving their personal information they should follow their hearts.