Synthetic Identity Theft is when a criminal combines one or many pieces of your
identity with one or many pieces of someone else’s identity to commit fraud.
Thieves using this highly-sophisticated type of theft will usually build credit
and make large purchases, leaving a trail of debt in the name of the person
whose Social Security number was used.
Examples of this are:
A thief uses a piece of your personally identifiable information, (e.g. Social
Security number) and combines it with a second person’s stolen personally
identifiable information, such as address, to create an entirely new identity
and commit fraud.
A thief obtains a loan using a made up name, their anonymous P.O. Box, and your
Social Security number. Because credit is tracked almost solely by Social
Security Numbers, the loan appears to be yours.
Out of all the types of identity theft, Synthetic Identity theft takes the
longest amount of time to detect and track. This is because identity thieves
will usually prey on the most vulnerable demographics, children and the
elderly. Children are targets because they have a brand new Social and are
unlikely to monitor their credit until they are young adults.
The elderly are targeted because they typically live on a fixed income
with minimal to no debt and are not as likely to monitor their credit or
Below are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones:
Monitor your credit reports for free on
www.AnnualCreditReport.com. We recommend pulling your free report from
one agency every four months so you can proactively monitor your credit
year-round without incurring any fees.
your credit to keep criminals from taking advantage of your buying
power. When setting this up, you will receive a unique pin code for each bureau
that you can use to “thaw” your credit when you need to make a large purchase
that requires a credit run.
Two-Factor Authentication for your financial accounts. An example of
this is when you log into your bank account, you first enter a password (step
one) then you are prompted to answer a security question (step two).
Monitor your financial account statements and health insurance explanation of
benefits on a regular basis. If you notice any suspicious or unusual activity,
contact your financial institutions and/or insurance provider immediately.
Store all documents containing your personally identifiable information in a
secure location, such as a fireproof safe, locked file cabinet or a safe