TransUnion South Africa has been targeted in a cyber-attack where a criminal third party, calling themselves N4ughtySec, obtained access to a TransUnion South Africa server through misuse of an authorised client’s credentials.
We are aware that the criminal third party has aggregated and is releasing data allegedly obtained from TransUnion South Africa and other sources, including at least 54 million records unrelated to TransUnion from prior data breaches dating back to 2017. With the help of outside experts, we are screening and reviewing this data as quickly as we are able to safely access it.
Immediately upon discovery of the incident, TransUnion South Africa suspended the client’s access and appointed a world-leading forensic firm to lead our investigation. We are working closely with South African regulators and law enforcement agencies in South Africa and the US.
The TransUnion South Africa team is working closely with external experts to understand what data was affected. Based on our investigation to date, fields of information that may be affected include:
Access to personal or business information can create opportunities for criminals to impersonate you or your business but does not guarantee access to your / your business’s banking profile or accounts. However, criminals can use this information to trick you or your employees into disclosing your confidential banking details. This could potentially be used by third parties in various ways to commit fraudulent scams, such as application fraud or the changing of banking details via an email compromise.
How to Protect Yourself / Your Business
We appreciate that situations like this can create uncertainty and we want to support you or your business through any concerns you may have. Where contact information is available, we are directly contacting known impacted individuals and businesses. We are working incredibly hard to get notifications to consumers and organisations as soon as possible.
We are making identity protection products available to individuals and businesses whose information was illegally accessed from TransUnion South Africa.
If you or your business are affected, you may have received an email or text from TransUnion South Africa with information on signing up for these free services. The email message notes that, if you are a first-time user of TransUnion services, you may be asked to provide limited information to verify that we are only giving your credit information back to you. The messages from TransUnion South Africa only direct you to pages on the www.transunion.co.za site.
If you receive a message that asks you to provide personal or business information directly to the sender, or that directs you to a website other than the www.transunion.co.za site, it may be a fraud attempt. Please be vigilant of phishing attacks and remember that a TransUnion representative will never ask for your or your business’s banking details, bank PIN or user login password.
We would encourage you or your business, as a precaution, to follow these security recommendations:
Regularly reviewing your credit report is a great way to check your credit data, and guard against identity theft and financial fraud.
Measures Taken by TransUnion
At TransUnion, we take our responsibility to safeguard the information we hold very seriously. We continuously look for ways to further strengthen our defences against unauthorised access of any kind to TransUnion systems or data.
Immediately upon discovery of the incident, TransUnion South Africa suspended the client's access, engaged cybersecurity and forensic experts, and launched an investigation. We have implemented an additional security solution to secure and ensure the reliability of our resources.
We have also engaged a third-party expert to assess and enhance our security protocols.
As our investigation continues, our teams have been working alongside multiple regulatory, law enforcement and industry bodies to ensure we maintain as full and comprehensive an understanding of the potential impact on all of our consumers, businesses and suppliers as possible.
We are working closely with South African regulators and law enforcement agencies in South Africa and the US. As is common with criminal attacks of this nature, it is not always possible to identify who is responsible for this malicious conduct. Alongside these agencies, our investigation is supported by our external industry security experts.
An investigation of this nature is likely to take several weeks and we will continue to share information with all law enforcement agencies to support their ongoing criminal investigation. Should we identify the suspect, we will work with law enforcement agencies and disclose the identity of the suspect only if law enforcement agencies think that it is appropriate.
The protection of the information we hold is a top priority for TransUnion, and we sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may have caused you or your business.
Top 6 FAQs
1. Update: South African Cyber Incident
What type and volume of data was affected?
Was my or my business’s data affected?
What are you doing to notify and assist people and organisations whose data is affected?
What steps can I take to make sure I’m not (or my business is not) a victim of fraud?
If my TransUnion data was affected, how do I subscribe to the free one-year subscription to TrueIdentity?
If my business’s TransUnion data was affected, how do I subscribe to the free subscription to the Business Credit Reports Service which has been offered until December 2023?
How do I know that the text or email I received about this incident is genuinely from TransUnion?
I received the same notification as a friend/colleague/family member, but the link to the TransUnion website differs from theirs. I am confused and unsure which one is authentic. Why did I receive a different URL?
I received a message from TransUnion Identity Monitor stating my personal information has been discovered on the dark web. What does this mean, why did I receive it, and what should I do?
I have received multiple alerts from TransUnion since the cyber incident and signing up to TrueIdentity. I am confused as some are credit alerts and others dark web alerts. What is the difference, and should I be concerned?
What is the dark web?
If I receive a suspicious message from someone claiming to have my data [and trying to access my bank account], what should I do?
2. How do I log a dispute to correct information on my credit report?
You can log a dispute online by following these steps:
You can track the progress of you dispute or query by clicking the “Dispute summary” tab on your dashboard.
You can call 0861 484 482 and select option 2 to log a dispute.
3. Why is my credit score low?
4. Does a good TransUnion score ensure I’ll get credit from a lending institution?
It will help, but it’s not a guarantee.
For example, if you’re applying for a loan to buy a home or car, or an increase in your credit limit, your credit score can serve as a guide to lenders. It’s one of many factors they’ll consider when making a decision. Also, different lenders use different factors to assess credit applications.
If you have a good (high) credit score, it means your credit report has information that shows you’re low risk and more likely to meet the repayment terms. You tend to be seen as a reliable borrower who will repay credit on time, which makes you more appealing to lenders. A good credit score means your application is more apt to be accepted, but it’s not a sure thing.
TransUnion is not responsible for the decisions lenders make based on your credit score.
5. How do I get my credit report?
There are two credit reports available to you:
6. Why are my personal details wrong on my credit report?
TransUnion gets the information used in your credit report from different institutions. It’s up to you to make sure your contact details are correct. If they aren’t, use te Dispute/Query option to ask us to update them: [see point 1 for this process]
What does a payment holiday mean?
A payment holiday is an agreement between you and your lender allowing you to temporarily stop or reduce your monthly repayments on an existing credit agreement. Lenders have different approaches to payment holidays so please speak to your lender about what’s available to you, the implications, as well how you should go about applying.
What payments qualify for payment holidays
Lenders have different approaches to payment holidays ranging from reduced monthly payments, deferred full payments through to extending the number of installments (the term) on the original credit agreement. Please speak to your lender about their payment holiday approach, which of your payments qualify, the implications for you as well as how you go about applying.
How long do payment holidays last for?
Lenders have different approaches to payment holidays. Please speak to your lender about their payment holiday approach, including the duration options on offer.
How do I apply for a payment holiday?
Lenders have different approaches to payment holidays. Please speak to your lender for more information on the application process that you should follow.
What does a payment holiday mean for my credit score?
A payment holiday is intended to assist consumers in preventing them from defaulting. Should you be granted a payment holiday, your lender will provide the credit bureau with the appropriate information to correctly identify your payment holidays against your specific accounts. This information is taken into consideration when reviewing your credit score. It is important to note that lenders make lending decisions on additional assessments over and above your credit score when granting new credit or extending credit limits.
How will a payment holiday reflect on my credit report?
As long as a deferred payment date (which will be future date) is supplied by your lender to the credit bureau, your account will reflect as updated until such time the payment becomes due and payable. The deferred payment date will reflect on your credit report for each account that is deferred or where the term is extended. Please obtain your latest credit report from transunion.co.za
What should I do if I can’t honour my payments?
You should immediately contact your lender to make an alternate arrangement with them. Proactively managing your obligations to lenders will allow you improve and sustain your overall financial health.
What happens if I don’t make the full payment, but pay a portion of it?
In order for the reduced payments to not reflect negatively on your credit report, you need to make sure that you follow the proper application process with your specific lender. The lender will then submit this information to the bureau to update on your profile showing that you are on a payment holiday.
Can I claim against insurance if I am unable to make my installments?
Most lenders require you to take out credit life insurance when you apply for credit. Check your specific insurance policy to see if your specific policy allows you to claim.
What happens if I have a dispute during the lockdown period?
The credit bureau dispute teams continue to operate and you can still log your dispute online. Disputes will still be managed within the current 20 business day resolution timeline, however due to not all businesses operating during the lockdown this may allow for updates past this period.
Can I still access my credit report during the lockdown period?
During this Covid-19 lockdown, all credit bureaus are providing consumers with free access to their credit report. Please access your free annual credit report.
How can I protect my credit health?
We understand that you may be facing some tough financial choices right now. We encourage you to pay what you can to avoid late payments on your credit report. If you can’t make minimum payments, we recommend you talk with your lenders to find out if they’re offering any assistance. Please access your free annual credit report, so that you can better under your current financial health.
What is a Credit Report?
Your credit report is a record of your credit activity and credit history. It includes the names of companies that have extended you credit and/or loans, as well as the credit limits and loan amounts. Your payment history is also part of this record and can show how you positively manage your accounts. If you have delinquent accounts, are under debt counseling or administration, or you have been sequestrated, these can also be found in your credit report.
What does COVID-19 mean for my credit score and credit report?
We understand that you may be facing some tough financial choices right now. We encourage you to pay what you can to avoid late payments on your credit report. If you can’t make minimum payments, we recommend you talk with your lender to find out if they’re offering any assistance. Please access your free annual credit report, so that you can better under your current financial health.
What does the national lockdown mean for my credit score and credit report?
Banks and other financial institutions are classified as essential services and continue to operate during this period. Talk to your lender to understand what options they have available to assist you. TransUnion will also continue to provide consumers with their credit reports during this period to help you understand your financial position. Please access your free annual credit report, so that you can better under your current financial health.
What does the corona virus mean for my credit score and credit report?
Just like your physical health, your financial health is key. Away try to pay what you can to avoid late payments on your credit report. If you can’t make minimum payments, we recommend you talk with your lenders to find out if they’re offering any assistance. Please access your free annual credit report, so that you can better under your current financial health.
What should I do to protect my credit score during the lockdown?
We understand that this is a very uncertain time for everyone. You should however always try to pay what you can to avoid late payments on your credit report. If you can’t make minimum payments, we recommend you talk with your lender as soon as possible to find out if they’re offering any assistance and how that can benefit you. Please access your free annual credit report, so that you can better under your current financial health.
I am worried that the Covid-19 lockdown is going to affect my ability to earn and income. What should I do to protect my credit score?
We understand that you may be facing some tough financial choices right now. We encourage you to pay what you can to avoid late payments on your credit report. If you can’t make minimum payments, we recommend you talk with your employer and your lender to find out if they’re offering any assistance. Most lenders also require you to take out credit life insurance when you apply for credit. Check you have insurance as well as what your specific policy allows you to claim for.