Risks and Societal Implications of Identity Theft

  • Tarmo KalvetEmail author
  • Marek Tiits
  • Pille Ubakivi-Hadachi
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 947)


Transactions that involved identity theft are becoming increasingly popular in today’s society. Identity theft causes not only a violation of privacy for the victim, but also raises the possibility of increased stress for the victim and potential financial and/or legal consequences. Due to this, it is important to understand the nature and extent of the problem in detail so that novel identity management systems may be developed and eventually accepted. The focus of current exploratory research is to understand the spread and consequences of identity theft and fraud in Europe. A census representative on-line survey was carried out in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and, for comparative purposes, in the United States of America. The research found that 25–30% of the adult population in the surveys countries experienced some form of misuse or attempted misuse of their personal information within the past three years. Extrapolating from the initial results, it is expected that around 100 million European citizens have dealt or experienced misuse of their personal information within the last 3 years and close to 40 million EU citizens had, because of the misuse of their personal information, incurred significant personal consequences ranging from debt collection to legal problems. Government issued electronic identity cards for on-line transactions are needed for electronic authentication and signatures, and their use in the private and public sector should become more widespread. Mobile ID can also service as a convenient and secure alternative to more traditional electronic identity cards.


Identity theft Identity documents European Union 



This work was supported by the European Commission through the project “Harmonized framework allowing a sustainable and robust identity for European Citizens” (EKSISTENZ, grant 607049) funded from FP7 and a grant “Public sector innovation: The case of modern identity management technologies” (PUT773) from Estonian Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tarmo Kalvet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marek Tiits
    • 2
  • Pille Ubakivi-Hadachi
    • 3
  1. 1.Tallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Institute of Baltic StudiesTartuEstonia
  3. 3.Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia

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