POPIA is in effect, but South Africans need to be careful with their data

“It has been nearly a year since the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has commenced. While companies are scrambling to ensure their compliance, many South Africans aren’t cautious enough when it comes to the distribution of their personal information,” says Louis Bosman of Gumtree South Africa.

“We’ve seen many concerning cases where our customers are freely giving away their information in a public forum,” says Bosman. “There have also been cases of stolen identities that we’ve seen, where copies of IDs and social media profiles are being used to perpetuate fraud,” he added.

Here is what you should be doing to protect yourself:

  • Do not share a copy of your ID document or drivers’ license online

“We’ve seen plenty of job seekers attach copies of their IDs to job applications or even post them online in full public view during their job search,” says Bosman. “These copies are downloaded and used to fraudulently open accounts or to scam others. Do not share your ID document or number freely. An employer may ask for a copy during a background check but that usually only opens when there is an offer on the table.”

  • Never share your SARS eFiling information

There are plenty of tax practitioners that offer to do your taxes for you for a fee, but if you engage with one, don’t simply hand over your SARS eFiling login information. “Your tax account contains sensitive information and you do not want it falling into the wrong hands. If you do want a tax practitioner to do your eFiling for you, you can request it in your eFiling app.”

  • Do not share Vehicle Registration Papers

Scammers will often ask sellers to share images of their vehicle registration papers to confirm that it is not stolen. They use these images to scam others. “It is also a good practice to block out license plate numbers before uploading images.”

  • You CAN share banking details, but not card details

“Many customers prefer to get paid or paid via EFT. You can share your bank account details (excluding pins and login details to online banking!) but do not provide an image of your card or the card numbers.”

Lastly, Bosman recommends communicating via the classifieds platform itself, and not Whatsapp. “When you communicate via a classifieds app, and fall victim to a scam, the other perpetrator can get traced more easily.”

Bosman says that police are cracking down on online scammers but that the best defence is to educate yourself about common scams and staying safe online. “If there are red flags, don’t proceed with a deal.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *