Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Experian data leak: how to avoid being caught by scammers

'Compromising your 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,' South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) CEO, Nischal Mewalall, said in a statement recently.

Consumers must be even more vigilant now that data from the Experian data leak has been found on the internet. Although information such as account numbers were not leaked, scammers can use the information leaked to trick consumers into divulging more sensitive details such as account numbers and PINs.

If you suspect your identity had been compromised, you should immediately apply for free identity protection from the Southern African Fraud Preventions Services (SAFPS) by contacting SAFPS at, or SMS the word “Protectid” to 43366.

Once you have registered, this service will alert SAFPS members, including banks and credit providers, that your identity has been compromised. Members then have to exercise additional care to confirm that they are transacting with the legitimate identity holder.

SABRIC and SAFPS have, in the past, called on consumers to look after their personal information to mitigate the risk of scammers using their information to apply for credit.

“Think about your personal information as cash. Keep it safe, because once it is shared, anybody can use it to pretend to be you,” says Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of SAFPS.

You should never disclose personal information, such as passwords and PINs when someone asks you for it, even if the person is from your bank. Your bank will never ask you to disclose this information.

Also change your password regularly and never share it with anyone. Be very careful with all requests for your personal information and only provide it when you are sure that there is a legitimate reason for requiring it.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits