Consumer credit reporting agency Experian has reported on its website that its South African branch had a data breach on Wednesday, August 19.
According to the statement, Experian is curtailing the incident that involved a fraudster who posed as a representative of a legitimate client and requested services from them, which involve providing information that is publicly available and given in a regular business process. The agency also found that the suspect would use the obtained data in creating "marketing leads to offer insurance and credit-related services."
Meanwhile, ZDNet reported that Experian confirmed that there was no breach on its security systems and its database was not compromised. Instead, the agency said that the information of their South African customers was indeed handed over to an individual, although the agency did not provide how many users were impacted.
South African Banking Risk Centre (SABRIC), an anti-fraud and banking non-profit, reported that 24 million South Africans and 793,749 local businesses were affected by the data breach.
Experian South Africa immediately alerted the National Credit Regulator and the Information Regulator soon after the discovery of the incident. The agency also reported the incident to local authorities who tracked down the fraudster. Experian also was able to get a court order to have the "individual's hardware being impounded." Also, the stolen data in the hardware has already been secured and deleted.
Experian also assured that no credit-related or financial information was compromised in the breach as the person only acquired personal information, which is being shared during an "ordinary course of business."
Also, the agency confirmed that the data was not used in any fraudulent activities and its systems remain secured and intact. However, South African privacy regulators will open a case regarding the incident as they deem that the involved data was too personal.
Experian Africa CEO Ferdie Pieterse apologized for the inconvenience caused by the incident. "Our first priority is to help and support consumers and businesses in South Africa," he said in a statement.
How to check credit report
To prevent any irregularities, Experian advised its customers to regularly check their credit report. According to Consumer.gov, a credit report is a summary of a person's credit history, which includes the person's name, Social Security number, address, credit cards, and loans. It also shows how much the person's debts are and whether bills are paid on time or not.
It is important, particularly when the person intends to get financing or loans for education, business, housing, personal, or any other purposes. Financing firms would check the individual's credit report before they lend him money.
To check the credit report from Experian, just launch the browser and visit www.mycreditcheck.co.za for free.
Also, Individuals can get a free copy of their credit report every year. Aside from Experian, two other credit reporting companies TransUnion and Equifax will also provide their reports. This means an individual may receive three reports in total.
A person can get free credit reports by calling Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8228 or visiting the website AnnualCreditReport.com.
This is owned by Tech Times.
Written by CJ Robles