Few people think about the possibility of identity theft when they have lost their wallet, mobile or passport as a result of a pickpocket. Identity theft is defined as the unauthorized use of another person’s identifying information. According to a study made by mySafety Finland in March 2015, as many as 100 000 Finns have been victims of identity thefts. Short term loans are taken, mobile connections are opened and online orders are made with their personal information.
-Thieves are very creative these days and surprisingly many identity thieves can be found in the inner circle of the victim. Not everybody understands that losing just a medical insurance card (translated KELA-card) can lead to trouble. Misuse or frauds do not always emerge right away but can emerge rather as a surprise for example six months after a theft, says Niclas Fagerlund, CEO of mySafety Finland.
Finns are careless
In addition to to pickpockets, personal information can end up in wrong hands in many ways, for example through burglary. Information can be also hacked from e-mail accounts. The research shows that one out of four people throw important documents unaltered into public recycling bins and 70 % of all the mailboxes in Finland do not have a lock.
- Many Finns believe that identity thefts can happen only abroad. In reality this is an increasing problem in Finland as well. Malwares can be used to hack personal information from almost every online operation, such as online orders and e-mails, states Fagerlund from mySafety.
500 euro bill from women’s clothes
Jyri from Helsinki became a victim of identity theft in the summer of 2014. He received an invoice for 500 € for women’s clothes he never bought.
- It sure came as a surprise. I immediately contacted the company that sent the invoice and they started to investigate it. It turned out that my social security number was used to make the orders. I suspect that someone had stolen my social security number through the Internet – possibly from my e-mail. I am not sure though, says Jyri.
Jyri made a police report and found out that he was not alone with this experience. The police receives these types of reports every week. The case is now handled and Jyri did not have to pay the bill.
- The incident left me feeling shaken. I have been wondering if this was a one-time case or if there is more to come. I still wonder from where they got my personal information and who they are.
This is how the research was done: mySafety Finland commissioned Research Insight Finland to conduct a survey regarding identity thefts in Finland. Data was collected in an online questionnaire 10.-19.3.2015 through the online consumer panel of Research Insight Finland Oy. A total 3018 Finns of ages 18-70 answered the questionnaire.