A FRIEND recently found out that she owed a furniture shop thousands of rands for appliances she knew nothing about.
The goods were bought by a person she had never met, living in another city, using anold ID she had lost, years after she obtained a new one.
Like thousands of others before her she was shocked that she had become another victim of fraud.
Similar cases emphasise the importance of guarding personal information and documents and making sure that they do not land in the wrong hands.
A few guidelines can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of fraud and identity theft:
lKeep your ID document and passport in a safe place.
l Use your ID as identification only when necessary. Ask to use other forms of identification.
l Reduce the amount of information that can be stolen by keeping minimal confidential information in your purse or wallet.
lLimit the amount of information that you post on networking websites or give out over the phone. Always check what the information will be used for first.
l Shred documents containing personal information before throwing them away.
lChange passwords and pin numbers regularly. Memorise them rather than write them down. Do not use obvious passwords such as the names of people close to you and birthdays.
lBe wary of emails asking for personal information such as bank account numbers and ID numbers.
lUse SMS and email notification services to keep track of your financial transactions.
lRegularly update your computer's antivirus software and firewalls to guard against the stealing of personal information.
lAlways report the theft of your ID, driver's licence and passport to the police.