Identity theft is skyrocketing

Identity theft is the fastest growing form of crime in the world. According to a recent study* 36 % of Finnish and 45% Swedish companies have been exposed or subject to attempt of id theft.

The report shows that identity theft is a growing problem that companies must take seriously as 36 % of Finnish and 45% Swedish companies have been exposed or subject to attempt of id theft. Despite this, nearly half of SMEs have ignored identity theft in risk assessments.

The Identity Theft Resource Center report from 2017 also stated that the number of credit cards exposed globally in 2017 totaled 14.2 million. In addition, nearly 158 million social security numbers were exposed in 2017 (an increase of more than 8 times compared to 2016).

Identity thieves have developed their skills in a digitalizing world. Today, criminals can easily catch personal information from social media or via e-mail accounts. In addition to personal data theft, various types of data leakage can lead to the misuse of personal data.

How does the crime happen and what happens at its worst?

Identity theft can happen in seconds, but it may only be noticed in the company after a long time. As a rule, identity theft occurs so that the criminal acts as a key person in the company, either by catching sensitive information or direct payments to the wrong bank account. Fraudulent scams have been a nuisance for businesses for a long time and criminals are constantly evolving in their operations. The research also reported damage done by companies’ own staff, such as stealing credit cards or copying card information.

The company often suffers financial loss as a result of identity theft. According to the survey, the average economic loss of an enterprise in Finland is EUR 6,250, but in some cases it has risen to EUR 20,000. Crimes are not just one-off. An attempt is made to use the identity theft company for as long as possible. Identity assets can prepare their actions for a long time, even for years. Crimes are also difficult to detect at an early stage.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is an unauthorized use of another person’s personal information such as name, address, or phone number. The mere fact that a personal identification number is in the wrong hands can lead to identity theft. Determining the link between data breaches and identity theft is challenging, primarily because identity theft victims often do not know how their personal information was obtained.

An email account can be the key to identity theft

Breaking into email can lead to identity theft. Today, one email account is often linked to a variety of digital services and applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, various online store accounts etc. These services often also include payment card information for online purchases and other personal information such as phone number, home address, and personal ID. By combining information about all these services, the task of an identity identity thief is, after all, quite easy.

* The data comes from a corporate identity theft investigation implemented by Kantar Sifo and commissioned by mySafety and . The survey was conducted in April 2019 and was attended by 500 Swedish and 503 Finnish business decision-makers in small and medium-sized enterprises. The decision-making position includes the CFO, the President and CEO, the Marketing Director and the Company’s shareholder.

Photo: Pixabay

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