The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) on behalf of the banking industry has emphasized the importance of bank customers protecting their personal information. The theft of bank customers’ personal information is of concern and remains a challenge to the banking industry. “When bank customers’ personal details are compromised, such details may be used to perpetrate crime with far-reaching consequences, said SABRIC CEO, Kalyani Pillay.
Personal information does not only include identity documents and driving licenses but also extends to information like salary slips, utility bills like water and electricity accounts as well as bank statements.
When criminals get their hands on documents containing personal information, they are able to gather personal details about their victims which in turn enables them to impersonate bank customers and either take over their facilities or apply for credit fraudulently. They often supplement the information gathered from compromised documentation or databases by perusing the social media profiles of their victims, and in so doing gain a holistic profile of their victim with sufficient information to answer any questions relating to the victim correctly, without being detected. Necessary documentation is also forged professionally to pass the requirements put in place by banks to ensure that they know their customers. These crimes are often perpetrated by organised crime syndicates.
In order to minimize the risk of having their personal information stolen, bank customers are advised to adhere to the following tips:
- Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse or leave it in your car.
- Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or email.
- Don’t write down PINs and passwords and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.
- Don’t use internet cafes or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centres etc.) to do your banking.
- When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).
- If you receive a call from an unknown individual who requests personal information, rather offer to call them back to verify that the number they have given you in fact belongs to the correct company. Ask them to give you the personal information that they need to confirm, instead of volunteering the details yourself.
- Be selective with the type of information you share on social media sites and constantly revise and check your privacy settings.
- Do not respond or believe SMS or email messages that tell you that you have won a prize, or inherited money.
- Don’t leave bank statements or other sensitive information in your inbox. Rather save these to another file on your computer and protect it with a password.
- For interviews with the CEO and media queries contact:
Media and Communications Manager
Tel: +27 11 847 3134
Cell: 082 070 5349