Credit Information Department

Credit fraud is a national concern as the Credit Information Department sees cases increase, says head of department, Cynthia Matshiakgotshi.

Credit fraud cases continue to increase, with the number of fraud disputes increasing every month.

“Perpetrators have different ways of producing fraudulent documents, including payslips; identity documents; passports; bank statements; proof of residence; and letters confirming their account details,” says head of the Credit Information Department, Cynthia Matshiakgotshi.

She says some fraudulent documents are generated from stolen identity documents, consumers’ credit reports, and machines designed to generate such documents.

“In some cases, fraudsters are so sophisticated that it is difficult for service or credit providers to spot a fraudulent transaction on the spot,” adds Matshiakgotshi.

One such case the Credit Information department dealt with was a complainant who alleged that he did not apply for a home loan with a credit provider who had listed him as a defaulter with various credit bureaux.  The complainant sought help to have the default listings removed.

Matshiakgotshi says an investigation by her department revealed that an identity document which the complainant had applied for, but never received from Home Affairs, had been used to take out a home loan.  “Simple interventions such as shredding documents before they are thrown away or sent to recycling companies can also help to minimise fraud,” she says.

In addition, consumers should be encouraged to report identity fraud to the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) to limit fraudulent documents being used to purchase, lease or acquire goods or access credit.

“A holistic approach is needed to minimise bad debts due to fraud for the credit granting industry.” Concludes Matshiakgotshi.