In a previous post, I mentioned how I came to realise how my identity was stolen. It has since been two months, and I’ve had a couple of pieces to still pick up. At least it isn’t all doom and gloom, read on to find out about how there is light at the end of the tunnel.
On the first of February, I received another SMS, this time a whole lot more serious than the SMS in early December.
As you can see, another account had been opened, decidedly larger and more serious than before. At least at this point, I knew this was a legitimate message from the get-go, so I dialled up my bank immediately. Sadly, the fraud department for debit orders (separate to credit card fraud) was closed on the weekend, and I would need to head into a branch. Luckily, it seemed to be only one unknown debit order in February.
Enter Standard Bank
If I can praise any one thing about Standard Bank the most, it was how helpful the branch at Menlyn was. They are excessively busy on a Saturday, but whoever manages the branch runs a tight ship. My wait may have been about 45 minutes before seeing a consultant (I arrived just before closing time), but I was consistently kept up to speed on queue progress by two very helpful staff members.
On seeing the consultant, I learned that debit orders queried at the branch within 24 or 48 hours (I can’t remember which at this point) may be reversed immediately and flagged. With the help of the consultant, the transaction was reversed in minutes, with an SMS confirming the refund arriving while we were still wrapping up.
To add to the excellent service, the consultant even went around to other staff to identify whether there was a store in the mall that was part of the group where the account was taken out, and hurriedly pointed me in their direction to stop the account – something the banks, logically, do not have the power to do. Armed with the knowledge of the store, and bank statements as backup, I headed off to the store in question.
At the store
The store was very helpful, with the consultant helping me immediately to softlock both phones that were taken out. Unfortunately, the accounts would only be softlocked for one day, but this at least bought time to get in touch with the fraud and risk department on Monday morning. I also left this store armed; this time with the direct number of the risk manager for their group.
On Monday morning, I contacted the risk manager who proceeded to almost immediately blacklist both devices and halted the account pending investigation. I requested that the fraudulent contracts be sent to me, and these arrived within an hour. As I had been to the bank already, I did not have to go through any painful refund processes with the service provider (this is a hint right here!).
This was the scariest part: seeing the documentation that had been used to open the account. The ID book looked legit, albeit missing my middle name, and with a photo of a man looking decidedly grumpier than I believe I look, and with much shorter hair. Perhaps that is the reason for the grumpiness.
The contract was fine and dandy, with false addresses and the accompanying pay-TV account from the Witbank address mentioned in part 1.
Then came the shocker, the payslip. All the detail in the lower part of the payslip itself was incorrect, however the header was an almost perfect replication of my payslip from a past employer. ID number, banking details, company address, employee ID, all there. I do believe the employee number was a digit out, but I can’t recall exactly what my employment number was at the time. This was the point when this theft felt its most invasive. You could however see that additional detail had been added in, as the font sizes were ever so slightly different.
SAFPS – Part 2
I’d still been waiting for my certificate mentioned earlier for some time, and wasn’t sure why I had not received it. When the fraud occurred, I was only able to furnish a “Letter of Attempt” to them, this meant that on their records there was only someone attempting the fraud. Even though there was a successful attempt at another service provider, that service provider is not a member of SAFPS, and thus they were not informed of the success. This meant that there was only a temporary flag on my ID number, and not a full on protection order issued. Now that a second, member company had had a successful account created, we were in business. I was issued my certificate within about 30 minutes. The staff at SAFPS were incredibly helpful in this matter.
And this is where I stand at the moment. I have a fraud protection order active on my name, and I have been refunded everything so far. The banks have been helpful, and the service providers as well. It’s clear that everyone is at least taking this seriously.
In short, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned at this point, is get to your bank QUICKLY, and then get the details of the risk manager or risk department of the service provider where the account was opened. They will often very efficiently handle the rest.
Once the dust has settled, I’ll post a part 3 about the next experiences (I’m sure more will come, even if it’s only admin…).
Update – Links to all parts: