’Tis the season to be jolly - but don’t let your guard down when it comes to protecting your personal information and financial well-being. Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
’Tis the season to be jolly - but don’t let your guard down when it comes to protecting your personal information and financial well-being this Black Friday and festive season.

That’s the warning from Garnet Jensen, Trans- Union director, who says while identity theft is a year-round problem, the holiday season is a prime time for criminals looking to steal your credit card details and other financial information such as your driving licence or ID.

According to a TransUnion 2017 survey, 75 percent of South African adults were worried about the possibility of identity theft.

It’s a real fear: almost half of the respondents (49 percent) had either fallen victim to identity theft or knew someone who had, with more than one in 10 (11percent) having fallen victim to identity theft.

TransUnion’s top five tips for keeping your ID safe this festive season:

* Keep your IDs safe. Be careful where you keep your IDs, and don’t carry them on you if you don’t have to. At least 14percent of ID theft victims say the theft of their IDs resulted in their identity being compromised.

* Be alert when using ATMs. Look out for anything even faintly suspicious when banking at ATMs or card terminals. Pay attention to the device being used and your surroundings.

* Shop from reputable websites. Before providing any personal or payment information, ensure the URL is secure and begins with “https” (not “http”).

Also ensure that the domain name in the URL is the same as the organisation you are transacting with.

* Beware of calls, SMSes and emails bearing gifts. If a caller, email or SMS offers financial reward or requests personal or banking information, delete it. And never, ever click on a link you don’t know.

* Sign up for credit alerts and check your credit report. One of the first places identity theft shows up is on your credit report. It is therefore important to regularly check your credit report for changes.

Our credit alert product will notify you of critical changes to your credit report - like a credit enquiry or new account.

PERSONAL FINANCE