Information leakage, data breach and identity theft

Data breaches and information leakages are occasionally reported in the media, and even films have been made about identity thefts. But do you know what these are actually all about?

Information leakage is when your personal data may have fallen into the wrong hands to a greater or lesser extent. Crime is not always involved in information leakage. If, for example, you accidentally send a letter to a wrong person that contains personal data, this may involve information leakage even if that harmed anyone.

Information leakage may, however, be intentional and, for example, leaked information may be used to attempt phishing or for spam.  It is therefore advisable to be sceptical about incoming phone calls or messages.

Data breach is involved when someone breaks into a data system and steals confidential information from there. In many cases, the attacker has criminal purposes and the intention to use the stolen information for their own benefit.

Perhaps the most typical example in this case is using the stolen login data: the perpetrator may receive a financial benefit, for example, through stolen online bank details because they enable access to the victim’s bank details.

The perpetrators exploit the stolen contact information, for example, to spread phishing messages and to use voice phishing. If the stolen information is delicate, it can also be used to try to extort victims.

By breaking into information systems, the criminals may also conceal important information in a way that its owner no longer gains access to it and that the criminals can demand a ransom for opening them.

Leaked or stolen information is utilised in identity theft

If your personal data falls into wrong hands either through information leakage or data breach, the criminals may try use it to commit identity theft. In practice, identity theft means that a criminal uses another person’s identity, causing harm to the victim.

In many cases, identity thefts cause a financial loss to the victim. The criminals may, for example, try to get various loans or order items on the online store through the stolen personal data. This involves not only identity theft but also fraud.

People often notice identity theft when they see that payments spring up in their bank statement or credit card bill whose payee the victim does not recognise, or the bills for goods and services that the victim has not ordered. It is therefore advisable to watch one’s own account transactions and credit card bills and contact one’s own bank in case there is anything that is abnormal.

Do you suspect that your personal data has fallen into the wrong hands?

Contact your bank immediately if the leaked information includes all or part of your online banking user ID or all or part of your payment card number. Notify your bank if you have lost your personal ID document or a copy of the document.

Report a criminal offence if you know or suspect that someone has used your personal or banking details and follow the instructions you have received from the authorities.

Personal credit ban helps protect against identity theft

You can make it more difficult to take out new loans in your name by declaring a voluntary credit ban, which is subject to charge. If you declare a credit ban, you will receive a separate document that enables you to prove your creditworthiness when you want to take out a new loan.

However, bear in mind that not every service provider checks customers’ credit records when making contracts such as hire purchase agreements. Your personal credit ban does not guarantee full protection against identity thefts.

Legal expense insurance for home insurance covers legal expenses in the case of identity theft

If you become a victim of identity theft and the case becomes subject to police investigation and then to court proceedings, Pohjola Insurance’s legal expenses insurance for home insurance can be of help. The legal expenses insurance also covers the costs of legal representation and court proceedings in the event of identity theft.

Contact your insurance company when the pre-trial investigation of the case has ended and the matter is submitted for legal proceedings.

In addition, the OP-Visa Gold and OP-Visa Platinum cards include identity theft protection, which helps to identify the harm caused by identity theft.