POPIA is in effect, but be careful with your data

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It has been almost a year since the Personal Information Protection Act (POPIA) came into force. As businesses scramble to ensure compliance, many of us are not careful enough when it comes to releasing our personal information.

“We have seen many worrying cases in which our customers freely give out their information in a public forum,” says Louis Bosman of Gumtree in South Africa.

“There have also been cases of identity theft that we have seen, where copies of identities and social media profiles are used to perpetrate fraud.

Louis tips on what you should do to protect yourself:

  • Do not share a copy of your ID or driver’s license online

“We have seen many job seekers attach copies of their ID to job applications or even post them online for public view during their job search. These copies are downloaded and used to fraudulently open accounts or to scam others. Do not freely share your ID or number. An employer can request a copy during a background check, but this usually doesn’t open until an offer is on the table.

  • Never share your SARS e-filing information

There are many tax professionals who offer to do your taxes for you for a fee, but if you sign up with one, don’t just pass on your SARS eFiling login details. “Your tax account contains sensitive information and you don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. If you want a tax professional to do your electronic filing for you, you can request it in your eFiling app. ‘

  • Do not share vehicle registration papers

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

“Many clients prefer to be paid or paid through EFT. You can share your bank details (except PINs and online banking login credentials!), But do not provide a picture of your card or card numbers.

Finally, Louis recommends communicating via the classifieds platform itself, and not via WhatsApp. “When you communicate through a classifieds app and you are scammed, the other author can be found more easily. Police crack down on scammers online, but the best defense is to educate yourself about common scams and stay safe online. If there are red flags, don’t go to a deal. ‘

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