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Protect yourself from identity theft – 10 tips

Everything can be stolen. Even people’s identity. So-called identity theft is a crime that is growing like an avalanche in Sweden. According to a Sifo survey carried out by the insurance company My safety, 237,000 Swedes had their identities hacked last year. That’s about 650 a day.

Since last year, when the corresponding survey was conducted, the number of victims has increased by 21 percent.

What identity hijacking is about is someone using your personal information to, for example, shop or transfer money.

In an article, for example, Sydsvenskan told how an ID hack cost Skåne’s Amir Ghotaslou half a million kroner. Among other things, the fraudsters had bought a car, a backhoe and a bouncy castle at his expense.

Since 2016, identity theft is a crime called “illegal identity use”. It can lead to up to two years in prison if its use causes damage or inconvenience. The police invest heavily in increasing the fight, but of course there are things you can do yourself to protect yourself. Here are 10 concrete tips.

1. Protect account information

Bank ID

Never leave account information via e-mail, SMS or social media. If you are going to use them – log in as usual via your internet bank or at another company where you are a customer.

Also make sure to keep an eye on your payment card. Never give your codes to anyone else, and of course don’t have it written down in your wallet.

2. Keep track of the account

Check your bank statements regularly to make sure there are no unexplained transactions. Many banks have apps that make it easy to check what is happening in the account.

3. Lock the drawer


Do you live in a house and have an open mailbox? Make sure you can lock it so that no unauthorized person can access your mail.

4. Check the credit report

When someone takes a credit report, you usually get a copy of this. If you do not know why a company is taking a credit report, you should contact them and check what the reason is. An unexplained credit report can be a sign that someone wants to take out a loan or shop on credit.

5. Protect the computer


Your identity can be intercepted with the help of viruses and spyware. Therefore, make sure you have an updated antivirus program installed on your computer. Of course, you must also protect the mobile phone, computer and tablet with a password/pin code so that no unauthorized person can access your information that way.

6. Don’t recycle anything sensitive


Avoid sending paper containing sensitive information to the paper recycling. Here there is the risk that someone unauthorized can get hold of them. Destroy the papers instead by shredding them properly, burning them, masking the private information – or using a shredder.

7. Block the card

Block your debit card for use on the internet or abroad and only unlock it when you need to use it. This is something that many banks offer easily via their internet banking. The point is, of course, that you reduce the thief’s opportunities to use your card details.

If you want to be extra safe, you can even get an extra card that does not have credit and which you use when you shop online or shop in “unsafe” countries. That way, you can only get rid of the money you have deposited in advance

8. Block the address change

Tax Agency

One way for the fraudsters to access your identity is to change your civil registration address. By default, you can change your address online and then sign a paper that is sent to the old address. A fraudster who has access to your mailbox can therefore easily falsify this document.

If you wish, you can block the possibility of a change of address via paper. A change of address must then be confirmed via your bank ID – which provides greater security. Read more about the service and order it here!
Swedish Change of Address also has a similar service that you can find here.

9. Avoid paper mail

Paper mail is generally insecure, and a good alternative is of course to switch to digital communication. Kivra is the largest service, and it collects both letters from authorities and private companies. A competitor is Digimail from the postal company Bring and E-boks from Postnord. If you only want digital mail from myndighter, you can use the My government mail service. All services are free and use login via Bankid.

10. Buy safe


There are companies that sell various protections against identity theft. For example, MySafety has insurance that monitors your credit information and gives you legal help and compensation if something happens. UC, which is known for its credit reports, has a similar service called UC ID-Skydd and your insurance company may be able to offer various forms of assistance.

However, many of these services have received criticism from the Swedish Consumer Agency, which thinks they promise more than they can deliver.

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