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ID theft and fraud on the increase

By unknown | Nov 21, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Identity theft is on the increase, Alexander Forbes Risk and Insurance Services said yesterday.

Identity theft is on the increase, Alexander Forbes Risk and Insurance Services said yesterday.

"In South Africa, identity fraud and theft are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Hackers are accessing personal details of their victims over the Internet," said Peter Olyott, Alexander Forbes Risk and Insurances Services' spokesman.

"Often fraud is detected only if a customer reviews his credit card statement or needs to travel outside the country and finds his passport is missing."

Identity theft and fraud involve the use of personal information for financial gain by someone posing as the person whose identity he has stolen.

Olyott said ID theft could have major financial ramifications for victims.

"The average discovery time of identity theft is more than 14 months and people whose identities have been stolen often have to spend many months and thousands of rands reinstating their good name and credit record."

Ina van der Merwe, chief executive of an international background screening company, Kroll, said the case of a 29-year-old alleged fraudster who variously claimed to have been a dentist, a cellphone executive, an American multimillionaire and a doctor was an example of the extent and the dangers of identity theft.

"Hardly a day passes that we do not come across individuals with forged qualifications, false identity documents or bogus passports," she said.

"The better the credit rating of an individual, the greater the chances that they are going to be the target of syndicates who use the stolen identity to defraud businesses, in South Africa and internationally."

The managing director of Consumer Profile Bureau, Fred Steffers, said identity theft had become the white-collar crime of choice because it was so easy. - Sapa


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