Self-service IDs | Identity Theft

7 Jun

Self-service IDs and passports: good or bad news?

The days of long lines and waiting periods running into months may be a thing of the past at home affairs, following Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement that the department will open branches in major malls across the country.

self-service idsHome Affairs’ plan includes the introduction of self-service passport and ID card application and renewal terminals which are being implemented in order to speed up the ‘more-often-than-not’ slow space of issuance when it comes to official documents.

While many South Africans will be celebrating increased efficiency at Home Affairs, the new system may present some challenges when it comes to privacy and the security of personal data.

Let’s take a look at the new ID and passport application system and weigh up its risks and advantages.

stopping by the mall for a new passport?

Anyone who’s had to wait for hours to submit an ID or passport application form, only to be told that the document itself will take weeks to months before it’s ready will probably be looking forward to the new system that Home Affairs plans to implement this fiscal year.

The department has announced that it will open branches at the following malls across SA:

  • Cresta Mall (Johannesburg)
  • Southgate Mall (Johannesburg)
  • The Pavillion (eThekwini)
  • Tygervalley Mall (Cape Town)

Ahead of these locations, the first branch will be opened at Menlyn Mall in Tshwane as a test case. The other branches are scheduled for opening later in the 2022/23 fiscal year.

  • The department envisages this project as a way to save time and make the process of applying for official identification documents simpler and easier.
  • A pre-booking system that will allow citizens and residents to secure a fixed time to submit applications in person at main Home Affairs branches is also in the works and is expected to reduce waiting times even further.

Going to your local mall to apply for a passport or ID card sounds fantastic in theory, but it also means sharing your personal information on an online system – and that comes with its share of risks.

how secure will online applications be?

There’s no doubt that the government takes certain measures to ensure the safety of data that it processes during document applications, but applying for a passport at the mall means that you will be exposing your personal information to potential hacking and cyber theft attempts.

With the incidence of identity fraud still high in SA, citizens will need to be vigilant to ensure that their personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

  • The recent spate of fake SA passports and related crimes is a stark reminder that fraudsters can and will use your identity for illegal purposes.
  • To ensure that your identity is not being used by criminals, it’s essential to obtain your free credit report on an annual basis and pay special attention to any unusual emails, text messages, or post that you receive – especially if it implies that you have accounts associated with your name that you didn’t know existed.

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Information vigilance doesn’t end with ID and passport applications.

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