experian data breach

Photo: Unsplash

Experian data breach: Banks issue warnings after 24m citizens ‘exposed’

Credit agency Experian was hit by fraudsters this week, exposing the personal bank details of ’24 million people’. The data breach has now been contained.

experian data breach

Photo: Unsplash

Around half of South Africa’s adult population may have been affected by a massive data breach this week, after Experian SA was duped by a sophisticated scam operation. The seemingly legitimate outfit posed as a client and was able to gain access to the personal information of roughly 24 million citizens in the republic.

The nefarious agent behind the data breach has been identified, and no consumer information has been obtained. However, some fiscal groups are still wary.

Experian data breach latest – who has been affected?

Thankfully, the credit agency has revealed that none of the data has been used for fraudulent purposes before being deleted – and that the fraudster did not compromise Experian’s infrastructure, systems, or customer database. But the banks of South Africa remain on high alert.

All four of the major banking institutions in Mzansi have issued a statement to customers, sharing a set of warnings for the public. If anything more sinsister has been detected on your account, it’s likely that you will be contacted by the financial experts over the coming days. For the meantime, here’s what your bank has said about the Experian data breach:

Banks issue statements on Experian crisis

Standard Bank advise clients to ‘change digital passwords’:

Standard Bank has revealed that they are working with Experian and SABRIC to learn more about this matter. They have reassured customers that they will be contacted if any fraudulent activity is detected within their accounts. For now, the institution has advised its members to take the following precautions:

  • Change banking passwords on our digital banking platforms and social media passwords
  • For personal clients, register for DigiMe on the Standard Bank App
  • Register for MyUpdates (free Standard bank SMS service) to be notified of all transactions over R100 on your accounts
  • Contact the bank or your relationship manager immediately if you suspect your bank account(s) or card(s) have been compromised
  • Do not share your personal details, banking details or one-time pin with anyone
  • Register with SAFPS for protective registration – if anyone tries to apply for banking products with your ID, it will be declined or referred for further review.

FNB encourage ‘extra vigilance’ over Experian incident

FNB issued their statement on the matter last night. They have stressed that protecting the data of their clients remains an ‘utmost priority’, and referred their customers to a list of safety checks they should pursue.

“FNB has been made aware that Experian has experienced a data breach. We are working with all relevant authorities to mitigate any potential risks on our customers as a result. The protection of our customers’ banking information is our utmost priority.”

“Customers are advised to be extra vigilant and follow our recommended security precautions, found on Security Centre on the FNB App and Online Banking. The Bank is communicating directly to customers who may have been impacted from a banking perspective.”

FNB statement

Nedbank ease fears about ‘at risk bank accounts’ after data breach

Nedbank has also moved to calm customers who may be worried about what this data breach means for their own personal security. They are pleading with the public to remain on high alert, and to avoid giving their intimate banking details to anyone until this matter is resolved.

“The information shared includes names, ID numbers, telephone numbers, physical and/or email addresses. Your bank accounts are not at risk. Personal information can create opportunities for criminals to impersonate you but does not guarantee access to your banking profile or accounts.”

“The only way you can be ‘impersonated’ is by disclosing confidential banking details to them. Clients from all banks, among other credit providers, are impacted by this data breach as it is a credit industry requirement for credit providers to share this information with credit bureau’s such as Experian SA.”

Nedbank statement

ABSA tell customers to keep private information to themselves

ABSA, meanwhile, toed the same party line as Nedbank: They have urged customers to ‘heighten their vigilance against any possible fraud’ – warning them to ‘never share banking credentials with a third party’. The group posted its official reaction to the matter on Twitter.