Synthetic identity theft is a modern fraud that is difficult to track.
In synthetic identity theft, cybercriminals take bits and pieces of personal information to create a new false identity. They use this synthetic identity to open up new credit cards, apply for loans and open other accounts.
Unfortunately, synthetic identity theft is one of the fastest-growing new account frauds, according to Forbes. Criminals can take years to use the synthetic identity to establish good credit. Then, once they’ve maxed out the amount of money they can borrow, they walk away with the cash and leave little evidence behind.
Many times, all criminals need to establish a synthetic identity is a Social Security number (SSN). And, since the synthetic identity is made up of false, pieced-together information, the bank or other financial institution has little to no recourse to recover the stolen money.
How Do You Protect Yourself From Synthetic Identity Theft?
Credit and identity theft monitoring is an important first step. A monitoring service can provide you with alerts when your SSN is used to open a new account along with other suspicious activity. You also can actively monitor your credit report for any suspicious accounts or other changes. This helps put you in control of your credit and identity. You also can take quick action if you become a victim.