The representative survey carried out by the Lithuanian Consumer Institute has shown that the awareness of identity theft in Lithuania is rather low. Even 49 per cent of the respondents do not know what an identity theft means: 40 per cent responded that an identity theft is introducing oneself by a fake name and surname (i.e. using the data of a non-existent person) and 9 per cent did not know in general what it means.
61 per cent of consumers associate an identity theft with pretending to be someone else for criminal purposes. 56 per cent of the respondents believe that an identity theft is fraud involving payment card data and an unlawful use of personal data. 38 per cent think that it is fraudulent e-mails or telephone calls requesting computer access and phishing out logon data and personal data. 36 per cent – hacking into personal social network accounts or e-mails.
One-fifth of Lithuanians as victims
The survey results show that 19 per cent of the country’s residents have encountered identity theft over the last 12 months: 3 per cent experienced it personally and 16 per cent heard about such cases from their friends and family or relatives. Most often in the case of identity thefts, fast credits were taken (28 per cent), goods or services were bought using another person’s name (16 per cent), money disappeared from bank accounts (8 per cent).
The victims who took part in the survey stated that identity thefts most often took place after stealing personal documents (28 per cent) or by obtaining personal data by deceit (24 per cent). In one third of all cases (32 per cent), the thieves did not manage to use the personal data obtained.
Lack of awareness of identity theft methods
Almost one-third of the Lithuanian population (28 per cent) is not aware of any single method how ID can be stolen on the electronic space. In general, awareness of ID theft methods online is higher among the survey participants who are between 18 and 35 years of age and among people with the highest educational background. Most widely known identity theft methods online: phishing – 44 per cent, data skimming – 42 per cent and spyware/malware – 40 per cent.
8 per cent of the respondents were not aware of any online ID theft methods. Most widely known identity fraud methods in the non-electronic space: obtaining personal data by deceit (74 per cent), disclosure of logon codes and passwords (68 per cent), theft of personal documents and correspondence (66 per cent).
The Lithuanian representative public opinion and identity theft survey was carried out by the company Spinter Research on 8 to 15 of April 2014. 1005 residents between 18 and 75 years of age have been surveyed using the Omnibus method.
About the project
The project “ID theft: prevention through education” is directed at preventing and combating identity theft and identity fraud and promoting identity management by means of awareness raising and informal education. The need for such a project is determined by the growing concern over identity theft crimes in Lithuania and other EU countries. The project “ID Theft: prevention through education” is co-financed by the Programme on Prevention and Fight against Crime of the European Union.
Various target groups will be involved in project activities: youth (school children, university students), adults, internet service providers, NGOs and state institutions working on prevention of identity theft crimes. The project will also pay special attention to reaching more vulnerable groups of population (pensioners, residents of small towns and villages, people with low income) whose wellbeing may be seriously affected by ID fraud and who may not know how to act when they become a victim of such crimes.
The project envisions the following activities: 1) research, based on the method of a qualitative sociological survey, followed a press conference where results will be presented; 2) Awareness campaign for youth consisting of identity theft awareness days in schools and on university campuses (school notebook), detective story and poster contests (gallery of submitted posters is here), online fraud quiz, a presentation on identity theft for teachers (CD); 3) Awareness campaign for adults consisting of actions in shopping centres (with distribution of calendar on ID theft), articles in regional press, a radio presentation, a round table discussion involving public and private actors; 4) Online outreach: project website, identity theft online help center , an animated comic strip; 5) Project management: newsletters, press releases, information brochure.
The proposed activities are prepared to ensure reaching the expected project results: enhanced awareness of identity theft threats and prevention, better knowledge and skills of victims where to turn and how to act.