Do you think you were affected by Experian data breach? Here’s what to do

On Wednesday, information belonging to millions of South Africans and nearly 800,000 businesses was handed over to an alleged fraudster by the firm in a massive data breach.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans have been urged to take immediate steps if they suspect they were affected by the Experian data breach.

On Wednesday, information belonging to millions of South Africans and nearly 800,000 businesses was handed over to an alleged fraudster by the firm in a massive data breach.

Experian, the world's biggest credit data firm, generates credit reports and scores based on consumer borrowing and payment habits, which are used by banks, car dealers and retailers.

It maintained that "no consumer credit or consumer financial information was obtained" in the breach. Experian also said the suspect had been identified and the relevant authorities notified.

Banks have worked with the data firm and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) to identify which of their customers may have been exposed to the breach and to protect their personal information, even as the investigation unfolds.

“The compromise of personal information can create opportunities for criminals to impersonate you but does not guarantee access to your banking profile or accounts. However, criminals can use this information to trick you into disclosing your confidential banking details,” SABRIC CEO, Nischal Mewalall said in a statement on Thursday.

South Africans who suspect their identity had been compromised, were urged to apply immediately for free identity protection with the Southern African Fraud Preventions Services (SAFPS).

This service alerts SAFPS members, which includes banks and credit providers, that your identity was compromised, and that additional care needs to be taken to confirm that they are transacting with the legitimate identity holder.

Consumers wanting to apply for additional protection can contact SAFPS at protection@safps.org.za, or SMS the word “Protectid” to 43366.

SAFPS also recommended that bank customers follow precautionary measures, including:

  • Do not disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax, text messages or even email.

  • Change your password regularly and never share them with anyone else.

  • Verify all requests for personal information and only provide it when there is a legitimate reason to do so.

For further advice, please see www.safps.org.za

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