What Is Synthetic Identity Fraud?
Synthetic identity fraud accounts for 80% of all credit card fraud losses. One study estimates that between 2014 and 2018, losses from synthetic identity fraud (SIF) will increase from $4 billion to $8 billion. It is a particularly egregious type of identity theft that most often preys on vulnerable populations, particularly children, who are significantly more likely to be victims than adults given their thin or non-existent credit histories.
InformationWeek, Synthetic Identity Fraud A Fast Growing Category, Oct. 21, 2014.
Javelin Strategy & Research, 2015 Data Breach Fraud Impact Report, June 2015.
“…the creation of a fictitious identity, typically by using a combination of real data from multiple individuals and fabricated information.”
“Identity Theft Services: Services Offer Some Benefits but Are Limited in Preventing Fraud,”
Government Accountability Office, GAO-17-254. March, 2017
To carry out financial fraud, the fictitious identity and associated credit file is leveraged over time to build a positive history that allows the fraudster to ultimately apply for and obtain new credit. This new credit is quickly maxed out and, of course, never repaid.
According to a recent survey...
More than 20 million people have more than one SSN associated with their name.
More than 40 million SSNs are associated with more than one person.
More than 100,000 Americans have 5 or more SSNs associated with their name.
More than 27,000 SSNs are associated with 10 or more people.
For 20 Million Americans, One Social Security Number's Not Enough" by Charles Cooper, CBS News.
Children and Synthetic Identity Fraud
About 1.3 million kids are affected annually and 50% are younger than 6. At least one study showed child credit and Social Security numbers compromised at a rate 51 times greater than the adult population.
One in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised, according to a 2012 survey by the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research group.
“CHILD IDENTITY THEFT: New Evidence Indicates Identity Thieves are Targeting Children for Unused Social Security Numbers” by Richard Power, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon CyLab.
A report by Carnegie Mellon CyLab titled, "Child Identity Theft: New Evidence Indicates Identity Thieves are Targeting Children for Unused Social Security Numbers" examined more than 40,000 cases of child identity theft.
Here's what it found...
CHILD IDENTITY THEFT: New Evidence Indicates Identity Thieves are Targeting Children for Unused Social Security Numbers by Richard Power, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon CyLab.