Why should you think twice about having your passport copied?

You are checking into a Spanish hotel, during a well-earned holiday, or renting a sanding machine to spruce up your office floor at a hardware store. They ask: May I copy your ID? Think twice about saying 'yes': your ID might fall into the hands of fraudsters.

Identity fraud

“In the Netherlands, we use a citizen service number or BSN", Frans van Berkel of the company PassProtect explains. “You are given a unique BSN at birth, or when you settle in the Netherlands. It is the key to your identity. If someone with bad intentions lays their hands on that number, they can take out a subscription in your name, or a loan, or even rent premises and start an illegal weed plantation." This goes for entrepreneurs who have migrated to the Netherlands as well: they receive their BSN when they register at the municipality where they live. Cyber criminals who use your BSN for such purposes commit identity fraud.

This is what you can do

How do you go about protecting your BSN? You have a few options.

Refuse to have a copy made

According to the privacy law GDPR, not just anyone can demand to make a copy of your ID. The only organisations that may do so are the ones that are legally required to make a copy: banks, insurance companies, and government organisations, for example. 

Illegible details

You can make part of the details on your ID copy illegible. For instance, by using the official KopieID app. There are also several physical methods. Such as covering your passport, driving licence, or ID card with a type of removable foil. Should anyone lay their hands on a copy of your ID, the photograph and your BSN will not be fully visible. Parties like the ANWB and PassProtect offer these products.

Do you have a cyber question? Send it to kvk.cyber@kvk.nl.