Piecing Together a Credit Fraud

Issue 09-18-17   |   Reviewer:   Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.


Synthetic identity theft relies on creating identities rather than stealing existing ones. Synthetic identity theft probably cost banks at least $6 billion in 2016, according to Auriemma Consulting Group, a payments consulting firm. Traditional and synthetic (if they’re able to blend the stolen information into new identities to open credit lines) identity thieves can benefit from the report that the credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. announced on September 7, 2017, that hackers may have stolen from it the names, SSNs, and other personal information of about 143 million U.S. consumers. The most prized data for synthetic fraud are the SSNs of people who don’t use credit, including infants and children, because they give the thief a blank slate to work from. When a synthetic account goes bad, lenders often assume a good customer fell on hard times.

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