Last updated on Jan 19th, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Itâ??s where you stash your ID, driver’s licence, wallet, bank cards, cellphone and house and car keys.

So what happens if it gets nicked? How can you stop the thief stealing your identity and money, and what do you do next? We’ve put together a practical guide to getting your life back on track.

Identity theft

Identity theft is a real and growing concern, particularly if you have any sort of identity documentation in your bag – ID, driver’s licence, passport or bank account information.

The first step is to go to the nearest police station, report the theft and get a case number.

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Then contact the South African Fraud Prevention Service on their hotline 0860 101 248 or through their website (www.safps.org.za) and ask them to register your case. You will be given a protective registration number to quote when applying for credit in the future and the details of the theft will be passed on to the banks.

If there is a possibility that your identity has been stolen, it is important to check your credit rating and bank statements frequently. For a small fee, you can check your credit rating with either of two major credit bureaus:

  • Experian on 089 110 5665

  • ITC on +27 21 401 4200 or +27 11 488 2911

If your house keys are in your bag together with any sort of personal information (name, address etc), you might want to consider having your locks changed.

Getting your identity back

Unfortunately having your identity documents stolen also means applying for new ones.

For the re-issue of an ID you need to complete a BI-10 application form, submit two recent ID photos and pay a nominal fee of R15.

See the Home Affairs website (http://home-affairs.pwv.gov.za/regions.asp) for more details.

To apply for a new driver’s licence, you will need to complete a TDL form at a driving licence testing centre. You will have to have your eyes re-checked (do this at an optometrist to save time), provide your ID, four black and white ID photographs and approximately R140 (depending on your province). You will then be issued with a temporary permit which is valid for six months or until your card is ready.

Hang on to your cash

Obviously, the biggest concern when it comes to having your purse stolen is that the thief will be able to access your accounts. Immediately after the theft, call your bank and get them to cancel your credit and debit cards.

  • FNB – 0800 110 132

  • Standard Bank – 0800 020 600

  • Nedbank – 0800 110 929

  • Absa – 0800 111 155

  • Virgin Money – 0860 866 639

If you use cellphone banking and your cellphone is stolen, it is important to tell your bank, so that they can block your number against future use.

Your bank cards are not likely to be the only cards in your wallet that need blacklisting. If you have cards for clothing accounts or medical aid you will need to report these stolen too.

Blacklist your cell phone

Getting your SIM card blocked and your cell phone blacklisted is fairly straight-forward. Phone your service provider and they will provide you with a reference number to prove that your cell phone has been blacklisted.

When you report the loss of your phone to the police (which you should do so that you can’t be held liable for any crimes committed with your phone), provide them with the reference number.

  • Cell C – 084 140

  • MTN – 083 1173 (pre-paid) or 083 1808 (contract)

  • Vodacom – 082 124

Be prepared

While you can’t do much to stop your bag being stolen, it’s a good idea to be prepared in case it does happen:

  • Make copies of your ID and driving licence and get them certified at a police station or bank

  • Make copies of both sides of all your cards so that the information on them is easily available if they are stolen

  • Make a list of all your bank account numbers, medical aid number and clothing account details and keep it in a safe place

  • Copy your cell phone contact list onto your computer and print out a hard copy

  • Carry only the amount of information that you will actually need in your handbag at any one time, to prevent ID theft