It has been roughly a year since my identity was stolen. And, life goes on. It was a difficult time having to deal with the oodles of admin (not to mention an expensive time on my phonebill), but everything has been fairly smooth since. I’ll try keep this post short as a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) so that you can get all the basics you need from it if the same happens to you.
Shoot. There aren’t only two credit bureaus
So it turns out South Africa has four main credit bureaus, and not just the two I mentioned in part 1. It took a bit of digging, but I eventually got all the addresses down. You’ll find the details of each bureau below.
0861 105 665
0861 482 482
Compuscan My Credit Check
021 888 6000
0860 937 000
Again, I encourage everyone to get a copy of their reports from each of the credit bureaus. Once I’d received all 4 reports, I noticed all the inconsistencies between them. This resulted in a LENGTHY (don’t kid yourself that this’ll be quick) exercise to get my reports sorted out. This took me the better part of 7 months between all the bureaus. Often the case would be that 75% of the things would be sorted out as requested, 25% ignored, and then you’d have to start from scratch for that 25%…
Take a look through each credit record with a keen eye and a highlighter. The inconsistencies I had were related to the fraud for the most part, however there were others where data was captured incorrectly, or the accounts had been closed up to 5 years back but were still listed as active. This can and will have an effect on your credit rating.
For any dispute, you need the following basic information (correct as at mid-2014):
- A certified copy of your ID
- A sworn affidavit regarding each fraudulent account (signed by any commissioner of oaths, this does not have to be done at a police station)
- A single sheet with your signature reproduced by hand at least three times
- Current proof of residence (I stand to be corrected, but I think this had to be no more than 3 months old, and must contain your initials as per your ID book. Example: If your name is Steven Peter Whifflebottom in your ID book, a proof of residence stating the name Steven Whifflebottom will not be sufficient. If memory serves, initials are just fine, so SP Whifflebottom should get you through)
- A letter of “Investigation Conclusion” or “Attempt” from each of the service providers where you have experienced falsified accounts
- Finally, for any previously closed accounts, you’ll need a “Paid Up” or “Account Closed” letter for each account.
Bear in mind, that each request can take up to six week to complete, and each disputed account will be treated as a separate issue. So pay attention to the dates when you receive each dispute reference number!
Hiccough in August (Hiccup for others)
I had been clear of any fraud now for 6 months, and I finally was able to go to the bank and try to negotiate my credit rating and interest rate (which had been upped due to the fraud) on a new account I was trying to open. To my horror, I was declined due to credit rating, and as a further pain, I had been listed as the perpetrator of the fraud! Luckily, I know my banker relatively well, but I could just imagine at that point being wrongfully arrested or some such thing for this rating.
It turned out that one of the service providers had an issue on their system, and a backup had to be restored (or something like that). This in turn reinstated the fraudulent status of “my” account at the service provider. Sadly I could not continue my banking at that point, as my entire profile was now locked down, but on the flip side, the provider was able to reverse everything for me by that afternoon.
It is VITALLY important that you clarify with SAFPS that you are a VICTIM. Please ensure you check this!
Moral of the story? Anything can go wrong at any time, don’t get your panties in a twist about it if it is out of your control at that very moment. The best thing I can advise is to keep a list of everyone you have been in contact with regarding your fraud, and contact them should something go amiss later. I believe that this simple act allowed me to have the turnaround time I had.
And how about now?
It is now 2015, and I seem to have been OK thus far. Yes, when I’ve applied for credit I’ve had to produce the letter from SAFPS (I replaced a car and applied for a credit card, the latter mostly out of experimentation regarding my credit record), but it hasn’t been any mission beyond that extra piece of paper. They’re definitely out there to help you, and hopefully my posts here can assist on the process to get yourself sorted. Here are SAFPS’ details again for the sake of TL;DR.
The South African Fraud Prevention Services
0860 101 248
Wishing you the best of luck, and a fraud-free existence! Below are links to the other posts in this series.