The orange envelope contains people's pension information. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT.

ID-theft via orange envelopes on the rise

There were over 100,000 people who had their identities stolen last year and Swedish police say that that number is only going to increase. The insurance company Folksam now warns that the fraudsters seem to go via the bright orange envelopes containing people's pension information that are sent out every year.

Through the end of March, there will be seven million of these envelopes sent out. The information contained includes a person's social security number and bank account information and the bright color of the envelopes makes it easy for thieves to pick them out amongst all the other mail.

With this information, a thief can, for example, order a mobile phone, or other, contract and then also steal the confirmation letter. With this the thief can have a month to rack up a high bill, which is then sent to the victim after the first month. Sometimes these bills are quite high, even up to SEK 30,000 - 40,000.

Anders Olofsson, from the police's national fraud center, told Swedish Radio News that he would prefer pension information to be distributed via the internet, which he says is much more secure.

Arne Paulsson, a pension expert at Swedish Pensions Agency, said to Swedish Radio News, "there's not much thieves can do with this information. There is the bank account number. All you can do with that is deposit money into the account. What thief wants to do that?"

But according to Detective Superintendent Anders Olofsson, that's exactly what the thieves are doing. He told Swedish Radio News, "that's the new thing, tricking people by putting money into their accounts, and then sending them a message: There's been an error. Can you please send the money to me?"

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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