YOUR Information First
October 2007 / issue #7

In this issue:

Timely Tips
Feature Article
Latest ID Theft News
Scam Central
More Resources


 Detecting Synthetic ID Fraud

How can you tell when a thief has created a new, fictional identity by combining your real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts and commit fraud?  You can protect yourself by following these tips:

1. Check your credit reports. Watch out for inaccurate versions of your name, address or Social Security number and report accounts on your credit file that don't belong to you to the credit bureaus right away. The Credit Bureau may, from time to time, associate the fraudulent sub file with your main, or “A” credit file, since they share identifying information. 

2.  Manage your Social Security number (SSN). Limit who you give your SSN to, destroy or securely store documents that contain your SSN, and monitor your public records and Social Security statements at least once a year to catch instances where a thief uses a different name, date of birth or address along with your real SSN.

3. Monitor your mail. If you start receiving suspicious mail, such as credit offers with odd variations on your name or change-of-address notices, contact the credit bureaus and post office if you didn't initiate these changes.

4. Follow up on all credit denial letters. Examine the letter to see if contains all of your correct identifying information. Contact the creditor immediately if it contains errors and ask them to verify your identity and then check your credit file again.


Synthetic Identity Fraud: A Growing Trend In ID Theft
By Mark Pribish

Most consumers think of identity theft as a financial related event including their credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts, and/or their personal, student, auto or home loans.  

A growing threat called Synthetic Identity Fraud – where thieves steal your social security number and connect it to a different name to create a new, fictitious person -- is becoming more common.

According to Tom Harkins, Chief Operating Officer for Edentify, a leading provider of identity management and fraud detection solutions, “One of the biggest misconceptions regarding identity theft is that it mainly involves credit.”  Harkins states that, “Approximately 70 percent of ID Theft starts with a non financial crime, such as someone using your social security number to apply for a job, which can lead to taking over your identity and then to committing Medical ID Theft.”

Generally speaking, there are five types of identity theft including:

  • Financial ID Theft
  • Social Security ID Theft
  • Drivers License ID Theft
  • Criminal ID Theft
  • Medical ID Theft.

In addition to your social security number, Synthetic Identity Fraud can include fake and real consumer information – including partially changed names and social security numbers to create new identities.  

Synthetic Identity Fraud is unlike traditional identity theft – where an individual’s real name, social security number and other real identifying information is used without changing any of the stolen information – and the identity thief pretends to be you, the employee or customer.

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SCAM CENTRAL - The "Information Broker" Scam

On-line Information Brokers are used legitimately by businesses and consumers for background checks to track down debtors or to find lost relatives. Unfortunately, since a large percentage of the information these brokers provide is sold directly over the internet, thieves can take advantage of these services to steal your identity.

How It Works:

A thief steals a bank or credit card statement from your mailbox or trash and then uses the information to obtain additional information about you through on-line information brokers. By ordering this information via by email and using other fraudulent information, the thief shields their identity. The purchased information allows the thief to commit fraud, including Synthetic ID Fraud such as; creating a phony driver’s license, ordering more credit it cards, and stealing from your bank accounts.

Your Defense:

Secure your mail and shred documents that contain identifying information instead of throwing them in the trash. Do not respond to “phishing” emails or phone calls that promise some benefit if you provide them with your identifying data. Monitor you credit files, public records and Social Security number at least once a month.

If you believe you have been victimized by this type of scam, contact a Recovery Advocate at 866.SMART68 today.


Are you at risk? Take our ID theft quiz
Family Safety Fact Sheet
Video: Delivering Justice

We've got you covered.  

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