In the first six months of 2009 the number of identities frozen as a result of identity theft amounted to 1,439, a 79 percent increase on the corresponding period of 2006, figures from Swedish credit rating agency Soliditet.
“The development is of great concern. The trend clearly points to an increase. Over the past year alone reports of fraud as a result of identity theft have increased by 30 percent,” said Krister Jörlén, Soliditet CEO, in a company press release.
The statistics show those that have applied to have their personal data frozen at Soliditet after having been subjected to fraud.
A common scenario is that identities are hijacked and used to execute credit card transactions.
The figures indicate significant regional variations with Malmö experiencing an increase of a 129 percent on 2006, Gothenburg up 83 percent and Stockholm by 72 percent.
But with by far the greatest increase is the eastern Sweden town of Eskilstuna with an increase of 429 percent from the second quarter 2006.
The figures also indicate significant differences across the generations.
According to the statistics, of those reporting the theft of their identity 28 percent were between 30 and 39-years-old, 24 percent were 40-49-years-old and 16 percent were 20-29-years-old.
“The differences between the various groups is due to new lifestyles and habits. Young people go out more and do not always have a check on their identification documents,” Krister Jörlén explains.
Jörlén explained that the loss of identification documents does not only cause practical problems but can also be mentally straining.
“My advice is to always have a check on your identification documents. If you suspect that someone has hijacked your personal details then you should contact the police immediately.”