We here at Consumer Debt Support (CDS) welcome our readers to this week’s blog. We have realized the problem with the neglecting to do regular checks on once credit record.

Information is a powerful tool available to consumers. This issue of Credit Fraud creeps up to bite consumers in the butt more often lately than before. When we speak to consumers about the health status of a credit report, it is alarming how often we are told they have no idea what the status is.

One should ask yourself why this topic pops up in social media, credit bureaus’ bulletins and registered debt counsellors doing consumer awareness drives. The continual warning education drives to take responsibility and know the status of your credit record and personal Credit ratings, seem to lack urgency and action by consumers.

Fraudsters have become even smarter and have smart technology they are using to defraud unsuspected consumers. Cloning of ID documents, opening of accounts with fraudulent information of unsuspected consumers.

Did you know that you can – or should or shall we say MUST — get your credit report every 12 months? Did you know that your credit report is FREE on your birthday, or that you can get your Free report once a year? You can get your credit report from any Shoprite or a registered debt counsellor at a minimum cost. Remember, you will need your Identity Document and the latest proof of your address to obtain a copy of such a report. When obtaining your credit report via the internet, you go through to verifying process to confirm it is you, the cost can vary, TransUnion will charge you R80.00 for a report after you had your free report for the calendar year.

Here at CDS we can share with our readers the stress it causes consumers when they find their credit report had been defrauded. Mostly it is consumers shopping for a house in the property market that are given the devastating news from the bank that the bond application is declined on the dream home they wanted to purchase.  It is not good for your credit record when you are declined for a home loan.

It is important to understand why consumers should do homework before taking up the task to start shopping for a dream home or wanting to enter the credit market, build a credit portfolio maintaining an excellent credit score to ensure successfully entering the property market now or at a later stage.

What you should do when you find you have been a victim of Identity Fraud:   We at CDS will highlight the steps to deal with the problem effectively and ensure that all parties are aware your Identity was stolen to open accounts.

  1. Contact the credit provider where the debt was made in your name. Advise the creditor in writing and attach an affidavit, that the account in question has been opened in your name under false pretenses. It is vital to attach a copy of your credit report, together with all the other relevant information.
  2. Open a case with the police; make sure you receive the case number via SMS to include this information in your complaint pack.
  3. Check out your credit status with a credit bureau like Experian SA, Compuscan, TransUnion etc. Advise the bureau of the identity theft, attach all the information you have reported to the creditor and the police to ensure that your status can be cleared and not listed with any negative information.

We have included one of the large bureaus’ information you can contact if you find you are a victim of defrauders.

Contact Experian Consumer Relations on: Help Desk:   0861 10 56 65  Fax:   011 707-670, Email: ez**************@ex******.com

A quick recap of how important it is to ensure you know your credit report and status when you plan to enter the credit market or applying for a new account:

  1. Do regular credit checks once a year in your birthday month for free.
  2. Do a budget to ensure the new installment is affordable.
  3. Get quotes on credit life insurance.
  4. Get quotes on income protection products to ensure your income is covered when you become retrenched and when you have no income.

Before buying a car or shopping for a home loan, do your homework and use the financial calculator to know what you’re in for in monthly payments after the sale has been concluded. Know all the hidden costs for example to mention a few: insurance, services for the vehicle and how many kilometers do you get on a full tank of petrol, possible parts that must be replaced in the near future.

When buying a home, get quotes and know what you can expect to pay for insurance, rates and taxes, and the average you must budget for on the monthly municipality utility bill, gardening to maintain the lawns, or any repairs you need to take care of once the property is transferred onto your name.

Conclusion: Make you home burglar proof; protect your computer with antivirus software and malware software from potential hackers; insure your vehicle; and have an alarm and tracking device installed to ensure the asset is protected. Now why not take the same precautions IN This Case (ITC) your credit record and keep tabs on your credit report by checking all is sound and no fraudulent activity is evident?

Should you find you are a victim, do not hesitate to contact us




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