In the past two years, 5.7% of the Dutch population have had to deal with a scam doppelganger. Two years ago, that percentage was 3.4%. A scam doppelganger can be a con artist who assumes another person’s identity in order to commit fraud (identity theft) or to harass someone.
Identity theft occurs predominantly in online communication, according to a recent study by research agency Panteia. When you are dealing with people online, it is difficult to check online whether these people actually are who they say they are.
According to the researchers, identity fraud therefore manifests itself mainly on social media (hacking an account, for example, for the practice known as digital bullying) or when people purchase items from web stores (and then receive bills for items they never bought.
Giving out copies of your identity documents may land you into trouble. Given the risks involved, the Netherlands authorities recommends making sensitive information unreadable when making copies of ID cards and other documents, if this information is not necessary for identification purpose.
The Panteia researchers found that more and more people are actually blurring or crossing out these data. For example, 14% of respondents are familiar with the government’s KopieID app, which makes a safe copy of your identity card, passport or driving license and crosses out any sensitive private information, such as your Citizen Service Number.
The researchers also looked at the types of online activity associated with identity fraud. Here is a top 5:
- Online purchases (25%)
- Vilification on social media (19%)
- Gaining access to apps/social media accounts (15%)
- Gaining access to online bank accounts (13%)
- Purchasing services (i.e. taking out a telephone subscription) (7%)
Source: Panteia Monitor Identiteit 2017
Image source: Panteia Monitor Identiteit 2017