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Kidnapping is on the rise and high-net-worth individuals are at risk

It may seem like the plot of a bad Hollywood action movie, but we can assure you it’s all too real. Wealthy South Africans and those close to them are becoming targets for criminals looking to make a quick buck – and if it’s not something you think could happen to you, it’s time to think again.

According to recent crime stats released by Police Minister Bheki Cele, 2 000 kidnapping cases were reported to the police between July and September 2021. Gauteng had the highest number of kidnappings, with 796 cases reported. With a 28.6% increase compared to the same period last year, it’s a new category of crime that police are monitoring closely.

The truth is, you are constantly at risk

The rising number of local millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires is providing a rich pool of potential targets for criminals, heightened by how freely the well-to-do travel the world for business and pleasure. With advancements in technology, it’s now easier than ever for nefarious individuals to know your movements, your personal details, and also those of your spouse and children. Social media and even a simple Google search can reveal reams of information that, in the wrong hands, can be used to target you for ransom, kidnapping, or worse.

The most recent, high-profile case is that of the four Moti brothers, aged seven, 11, 13 and 15, who were kidnapped in Polokwane while being driven to school. They were allegedly captured by armed gunmen and were held for three weeks before being reunited with their parents. At this stage it is still unclear if a ransom was paid. Regardless, this must surely have been a highly traumatic situation for the entire family. Often the financial cost can be high, but the emotional impact could be even worse.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

When dealing with determined criminals, it’s often difficult to stay one step ahead. How do you know your security is up to scratch? How do you know your personal assistant hasn’t been compromised? Is your local school run an ideal route for a would-be ambusher? Is access to your home relatively easy? You have enough to worry about as it is, without the extra stress of keeping track of all possible security loopholes.

It’s at times like these that you need a broker with access to a very particular set of skills and services. Any broker worth their salt will work with you to conduct a thorough security and safety audit of yourself and your family, with a strong focus on personal cyber security. This will determine where your highest risk areas are, and where you are most valuable to a criminal. They will not only advise you on what insurance and support solutions are available to mitigate the risk, but will work with you to determine what risk solutions are best for your individual needs.

Focus on security and safety

The first step to tackling this problem is admitting that the threat exists, and that the more money they think you have, the more of a target you become. The second step is to get in touch with a broker with strong security credentials and take a long and hard look at what can be done to increase your own safety and that of the ones you love. Such a partner can be vital in helping you assess your security weaknesses, advising you on preventative steps to take, and relieving you of the stresses associated with protecting what’s most important to you. The last resort is looking at specialist insurance products and services when the security measures fail.

Until the bad guys are no more, the hero walks off into the sunset and the end credits roll, this very real story will continue to play out. The best you can do is to look it squarely in the eyes, stand your ground, and make it as difficult as possible for this sort of crime to happen.

For more information, speak to your Indwe advisor by calling 0860 13 13 14 or visiting www.indwe.co.za

Indwe is an authorised Financial Services Provider. FSP: 3425