If you have made a purchase using your mobile phone, tablet, or computer in the past month, you are a member of a population segment that is rapidly expanding its reliance on electronic gadgets to make transactions. It is indisputable that having the ability to use your data online can make life easier, whether you are replenishing a supply of milk that has run out or delivering flowers to a partner for their birthday.
Sadly, this occurs with several potential risks, the most significant of which is criminal fraud. Identity theft insurance is something that can be provided to you by Legal Cover. On the other hand, you might still be wondering to yourself, “What exactly is identity theft?” or “What exactly is insurance against identity theft?” The good news is that the solutions can all be found in this blog.
What Exactly is Meant by the Term “Identity Theft,” and When Does It Take Place?
Individuals used their identification books or driver’s licenses in the past to validate their claims about who they were. Additionally, to cash out money and make payments, they would go to the bank or write cheques. Those times belong to the distant past. We can now authenticate our identities by uploading files to a website, making payments and transactions through apps on our mobile devices, and placing orders for goods and services using the information from our bank cards.
Theft of people’s identities occurs in this context. To commit fraud, it is possible to steal somebody’s identity by gaining access to their private or financial data, such as their identification number, passcodes, or mobile number.
During the 2019 Covid-19 pandemic, South Africans began doing a significant amount of their online shopping, and this trend has continued. Between 2019 and 2020, local internet sales rose by over 66%, reaching more than R30 billion, according to a study that was published in 2022. While this is going on, Transunion indicates that each year there is a nearly 5% rise in the amount of fraudulent activity that takes place online, which is greater than the global average. The following are some of how your identity could be stolen if you live in South Africa:
Phishing and other forms of online fraud involve the creation of bogus websites or emails that impersonate genuine companies or individuals and ask you to verify your personal information.
Downloadable programs for personal computers or mobile phones give the impression of being legitimate but in reality give cybercriminals unauthorized access to the data that is on your device and enable them to record it.
When expert cybercriminals gain access to the stored consumer data of an organization such as a bank, university, or public organization to demand ransom.
Obtaining unauthorized access to another person’s computer to commit fraudulent acts in their name is known as hacking.
Extortion is defined as the practice of threatening to release sensitive pictures or knowledge in return for a ransom payment.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect My Identity From Being Stolen?
You can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft in several different ways, including the following:
- Directly notify the authorities of the theft of any personal possessions that contained identifiable details, and then cancel or stop any cards or accounts that were affected.
- On every purchase, allow alerts for real-time text messages or emails.
- Ensure that you check your reports and statements on an annual or monthly basis for any discrepancies.
- When making smaller purchases or going to crowded events like concerts or festivals, you should always bring cash with you and keep it on your person.
- On social media, you should try to refrain from uploading pictures that include identifiable details or your position, or you should censor what you share.
- Please refrain from discussing sensitive matters via text message, email, or over the phone.
- Enable the use of two-factor authentication on any financial dealings or accounts
- Activate the one-tap purchasing feature on your bank or credit card, and then disable it.
- Choose to receive electronic versions of any statements or documents rather than hard copies whenever possible. If you do receive hard copies, you should either put them away in a secure location or destroy them before throwing them away.
- If you have trouble remembering your passwords and have a tendency to use the same password for all of your accounts, you should use a one-of-a-kind password generator and software that stores passwords to create and encrypt your passwords.
- If you are using public Wi-Fi, like the kind that is available at shopping malls, you should avoid logging into any personal accounts.
What Kinds of Losses Are Covered by Identity Theft Insurance?
You can take precautions to prevent identity theft, but even if you do everything right, it’s possible that it could still happen to you. If something like this happens to you, having identity fraud protection can safeguard you by giving you access to several benefits, including the ones listed here:
- Handling all of the correspondence on your behalf, including composing letters, making phone calls, and transferring documents via email to the appropriate parties.
- Possibility of accessing and keeping an eye on one’s credit report.
- Protection against the costs of reapplying for loans, including those associated with notaries, attorneys, and legal fees.
- Insurance to cover expenses incurred due to a loss of income and childcare expenses
- Assistance from trained professionals in the event of identity theft.
- Assistance with legal matters, including representation in court physically.
You can ensure that you will receive the assistance that is prompt and effective by maintaining your monthly premiums and acting in compliance with the conditions of your financing provider. Should you fail to do so, your claim may be denied or the processing time may be extended beyond what is considered normal.
What You Should Do When You Discover That Someone Has Stolen Your Identity
If you are insured and are unsure what you should do if your identity is stolen, the following steps should help you:
- Submit a claim with the insurance company that covers you for identity theft.
- Inform companies as soon as possible about the theft of your identity.
In the occasion that your financial information is stolen, your banking firm will provide you with a special phone number that is available around the clock. Find out what those figures are to conserve time, and keep them close at hand so that you can easily access them whenever you require them. Make sure that any verifying files or codes that you have are stored in a secure location so that you can demonstrate that you’re the account’s owner.
Make a Call to the Authorities
You can contact the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service by calling 011 867 2234 or sending an email to [email protected] to file a report and enroll any paperwork that has been stolen. Be certain to obtain a case number or the officer’s contact information whenever you speak with law enforcement so that you can monitor the progress of the investigation.
Place an Alert About Possible Fraud on Your Credit History
South African citizens have the legal right to request and receive one free report from a credit reporting agency such as TransUnion or Experian each year. You can submit an application to the credit union asking them to put a scam warning on your account. This implies that if someone attempts to make a credit application utilizing your information, the creditor will give you a call to confirm that you are the one attempting to make the request. This protects you from identity theft.
Put a Hold on Your Credit
If you have your credit frozen, any requests created in your name will be immediately rejected until you request to have the freeze lifted. Because this may come with a price and reversing it can take some time, it is best to save it for when all other options have been exhausted. It should only be employed if you are certain that a fraudster has time-sensitive entry to big amounts of funds or important property. Other situations are not appropriate for its application.
Where Can One Obtain Coverage for Their Legal Needs in South Africa?
Even though identity theft is more prevalent in today’s world, that does not mean that you are doomed to a life of misery if it occurs to you. You can have peace of mind in the awareness that you are safeguarded if you have done your preparation and taken the necessary safety measures. Identity theft companies can provide you with insurance that protects you against identity theft as well as other legal assistance that you may require.