I thought I'd heard them all, but here's yet another twist on the crime of identity theft
Never underestimate the creative power of the criminal mind.
After seemingly endless stories about ATM theft, gas pump skimming, stolen laptops, data breaches at banks, insurers and hospitals – as well as the ever-present drumbeat of warnings about “low-tech” identity theft from stolen mail and dumpster-diving thieves, it would seem that identity thieves should have run out of ideas to steal your personal information by now.
Definitely Not …
The newest form of identity theft is called “synthetic” identity theft. Synthetic identity theft occurs when thieves create new identities either by combining real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts with fictional identities or to create a brand new identity from completely fake information.
For example, a thief may use a real Social Security number, but tie that number to a fictional name – creating a “new person.” The thief can then get credit, open a bank account, purchase a home or anything else using the new, fictitious identity. The thief can also go as far as to establish a credit history for a fake person by establishing credit accounts and an employment history – and can further muddy the waters by using multiple fake identities – sometimes tying them together in an intricate web that is hard to catch or decipher. Many current anti-identity theft systems search for pieces of your identity and match them together for confirmation – with synthetic theft, all the “bits and pieces” of personal information confuse the system — since the computer programs are designed to try and “match” a person’s personal and financial information (their name, address, Social Security number). If the computer doesn’t get a true “match” it moves on to the next record – often without identifying a threat.