Detecting Synthetic Identity Fraud

It’s bad enough when ID thieves steal your persona, but what happens when they use your information to create an entirely different person? A fake person? Bankrate has an article about detecting and protecting yourself from this type of scam. It’s called “synthetic identity fraud.” From Bankrate:

Synthetic fraud is quickly becoming the more common type of identity fraud, surpassing “true-name” identity fraud, which corresponds to actual consumers. In 2005, ID Analytics reported that synthetic identity fraud accounted for 74 percent of the total dollars lost by U.S. businesses to ID fraud and 88 percent of all identity fraud “events” — for example, new account openings and address changes.

Sythetic ID fraud could affect your credit, and debt collectors might come after you based on your SSN, ignoring that a ficticious name was used.

Detecting synthetic identity fraud [Bankrate]


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  1. Wouldnt this all go away if we got rid of the credit bureaus?

  2. Buran says:

    OT, but … help? This has stopped working for me:

    Awesome: Now With Nesting! Reader’s Greasemonkey Script Im…

  3. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Holden Caulfield:

    Maybe, but then it would be a whole lot harder to get credit…I don’t mean just in a “good! fucking morons can’t handle it anyway!” sort of way, but in a “I pay my bills on time but I’ll never be able to buy a house” kind of way.

    If some government agency filled the same role, they’d have most of the same problems. Well, except for redundant copies of errors causing fraud to reappear in your report after you’ve erased it from one or two credit bureaus.

  4. huadpe says:

    Not really. It would just become vastly more difficult to get affordable credit. You’d have to either submit proof of income/assets/address to each bank, and then they’d call the local utilities and see if you were paying your bills on time. If you refuse, you will simply be denied credit or charged some outlandish rate (30%+). Credit bureaus actually do act to increase availability of credit at more reasonable rates. Without them, you can only get credit from institutions where you bank regularly or who perform intensive credit checks for any lines above a small amount.

    Do the credit bureaus do scummy stuff? Sure, their customers are banks, not you. But they do reduce fees and incease competition by making it so that banks don’t have to do massive amounts of redundant work.

  5. AcidReign says:

    …..The US Government could nip this sort of fraud in the bud really easily, except it would hurt Social Security receipts. Simply put, the Social Security Administration should be required to report it (to the correct holder of that number, and maybe INS) when they collect taxes on the wrong name for a social security number.

    …..But no. They will happily accept taxes from both the legitimate holder, AND the fraudster using the number. For decades. The legitimate holder will not find out till he tries to collect at age 68 (or 79 or whatever they raise it to by the time I retire). At that point, the legitimate numbered person will have to jump through myriad bureaucratic hoops to get their promised payments.

  6. Dan_25 says:

    I doubt that someone would steal an identity AND pay taxes on it. get real.

  7. Well there must be something that we can do. I mean, we have the tools for communication and organization. We ARE the people. Isnt there a way that we can take the decision making process back and put it into our own hands?

    I know that in an ideal democracy that we could contact our congress-people. But why have we allowed such things to happen? We dont have to give up our identities and our security just to have a chance at securing property that is beyond our current means.

    AcidReign, you’ve got a point there. But what I’m getting at is that we dont have to allow such things to happen. Start standing up for ourselves.

  8. brl65 says:

    Interesting article,great tips,but don’t get your hopes up you can stop the criminals, or prosecute them. A detective stated to me (when I turned in my ex-husband for this very act)this is considered petty crime and authorities have too many serious infractions of the law to investigate, rather than wasting resource on small time fraud. My response to the detective was “So, crime really does pay”…his response to me was “Yes, it does”.