ThisIsMeBy all accounts, identity theft is rife in South Africa. Estimates set the costs of identity fraud in South Africa anywhere upwards of R1bn per year. In our dealings with the cyber liability team at ITOO (part of the Hollard stable), we have heard some scary stories of hacking in recent times.

A recent article in RISKAFRICA magazine presents a possible solution for bringing down our fraud stats. In the article, entitled “Identity theft still a major concern”, the answer lies in technology. ThisIsMe is a new app that, according to its description in the App Store, “helps you to prove that you are who you say you are”.

According to the app’s terms of use, the systems meet know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines and allows users to decide who may access their online info, and for how long.

The new app has links to Home Affairs and major banks and has big expansion plans into other countries, including Australia and Nigeria. ThisIsMe CEO Mark Chirnside claims to have more than 20 corporates on board already. The big dream, he says, is one day to be able to vote online using the app.

I just signed up on my phone to see what would happen. So far nothing. I guess it’ll take a bit of time before ThisIsMe becomes de rigueur. Until then I guess I’ll have to keep carrying my ID, a copy of my ID, last three months’ bank statements and proof of residence with me wherever I go, just in case I want to buy a new SIM card. Oh, and I foresee inked thumbs at election time for many years to come.

Here’s what Mark has to say about ThisIsMe.