Identity of Securitas chief executive stolen, bankruptcy filed
Identity of Securitas chief executive stolen, bankruptcy filed

The chief executive of Swedish security firm Securitas AB, Alf Göransson, has been declared bankrupt after having his identity stolen.

The company announced on Wednesday in a release that a fraudulent loan application in Göransson's name was made in March.

As a result, Göransson was declared bankrupt on 10 July by the Stockholm District Court.

The company claims there was no attempt made by the court to contact Göransson before the decision was made to declare him bankrupt.

"The decision by the Stockholm District Court is based on a falsified application," the company said. "The incident has been reported to the police and the decision will be appealed to the Court of Appeal immediately today."

The bankruptcy officer appointed by Stockholm District Court says he will support the appeal of the bankruptcy decision, which is therefore expected to be removed.

Göransson reportedly has not been told the size of the loan, if it has been paid, or the kind of loan application that was filed.

Securitas says that Göransson is not a victim of theft for which the group provides protection.

Lisa Baergen, director at NuData Security, said “Cyber-criminals are building fictitious identities to open fraudulent accounts with an eye towards fleecing banks, mortgage lending institutions, and insurance companies. Stealing genuine account credentials or faking them or creating synthetic identities from breached data, has been used to take out loans, overdrafts or mortgages, open bank accounts and even apply for valid documents such as a passport or driver's license. There have even been many recorded instances of identity fraud taking place with credentials belonging to deceased individuals or even babies.

“Organisations are evolving to look towards more effective means of protecting accounts. Passive biometric and behavioural analytics enable these organisations to identify, verify and authenticate legitimate customers online through their behaviour and multiple other signals without impacting the customer experience or demand for convenience.”

In March, Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, released figures showing that identity fraud had hit the highest levels ever recorded.

Detailing its findings in a press release, a record high of 172,919 identity frauds were recorded in 2016, more than in any other previous year. Identity fraud now represents over half of all fraud recorded by the UK's not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation (53.3 percent of all frauds recorded to Cifas), of which 88 percent was perpetrated online.

The vast majority of identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name.

Often victims do not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters need access to their victim's personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with.

Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, from stealing mail through to hacking, obtaining data on the ‘dark web', exploiting personal information on social media, or through ‘social engineering' where innocent parties are persuaded to give up personal information to someone pretending to be from their bank, the police or a trusted retailer.