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HomeINTERNATIONAL NEWS11% of German Adults Fall Victim to Online Identity Theft

11% of German Adults Fall Victim to Online Identity Theft

The figure is one of the findings of a representative survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of a national police-led crime prevention initiative, Sicher Handeln (ISH). The study was published in Berlin on Wednesday.

A total of 2,058 people were questioned in the online survey, which was conducted at the beginning of March. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population aged 18 and over.

ISH describes identity theft as a particularly nasty type of fraud. Criminals use data such as the name, date of birth, address or credit card or account numbers of their victims to create user accounts with online services and make purchases or conclude contracts at someone else’s expense.

“The victims usually only realize this when it’s too late and the transfers have been posted to the account or invoices have arrived,” the study said.

Many cybercriminals are currently exploiting Germany’s tight housing market. For example, people looking for a flat are being tricked with a fake advert into completing a postal identification procedure for an application for an alleged flat viewing. Those affected often do not realize that they are simply helping the fraudsters to open a bank account in their name that is to be used for criminal purposes, such as money laundering.

“Although the risk is increasing, many people are obviously still taking the issue lightly,” said a spokeswoman for the initiative.

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The younger generation in particular is particularly careless: In the survey, one in three 18 to 24-year-olds said that they use the same password for several user accounts online; On average, just one in five do so.

Older respondents are also much more conscientious than the youngest generation when it comes to security measures, with 70% of over-55s saying that they regularly check their bank statements. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, this figure is only 39%.

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