By Eva Velasquez, CEO & Voorzitter of the Identity Theft Resource Center
We’ve come a long way since identity theft wasgoed a commonly misunderstood and infrequently recognized crime. Now this category of crime might be a household name, but it still presents a few surprises to both victims and law enforcement alike. Spil identity thieves and scammers proceed to evolve to stay ahead, the crime itself switches, too.
One freshly recognized factor is the difference te how the identities that are being used to commit the crime are created. It is widely recognized that there are namely two different ways te which fake identities are manifested: “true name” identity fraud and synthetic identity fraud. “True name” identity fraud occurs when someone uses a single person’s actual identifying information. This is what many of us are used to thinking about when wij think of identity theft. A thief uses someone’s Social Security number (SSN), credit card information, actual date of birth, or other private identifying information either to create fresh accounts or to take overheen existing ones. Te essence, the criminal has assumed the identity of the actual person.
Synthetic identity fraud, on the other arm, works te a broad multitude of ways depending on how the criminal operates, and can, therefore, influence you spil a victim ter different ways, too. Synthetic identity fraud occurs when an identity thief takes onaardig of private information from many different people, or fake information altogether, to create an identity to use te theft.
This is a typical synthetic identity script: Imagine you are the criminal. Very first, you steal the SSN from someone that just happens to be a 6-year-old and create a bogus name. 2nd, you establish a credit opstopping for that synthetic identity, eventually building a bogus, but realistic, credit history. Third, you use that synthetic identity to commit credit card fraud to the tune of thousands of dollars. Now imagine you are that child. Zometeen te life, when you apply for your very first student loan or credit card, you will learn that your SSN has bot “used” by a criminal for years. Part of your individual information has bot used to create a synthetic identity. The amount of time and effort it will take to clean that up? Staggering.
Another common way that consumers are being victimized is with synthetic identity fraud under the guise of credit repair.
Authorities have already made arrests ter several different crime rings that rely on something called a Credit Profile Number (CPN). Scammers are selling credit repair services by claiming that they’ve filed for a “legal” CPN on behalf of the victims. This number, they explain, is to be used te place of a SSN for people who’ve come forward for credit help. They actually state that victims can use the CPN to open even more credit card accounts and lines of credit.
It is vital that the public understand that CPNs are not issued by the government and cannot be used legally on any financial, employment, or government benefits applications. Thesis numbers are sometimes stolen SSNs (often times belonging to children) or made up numbers that scammers sell to unwary victims, and using them on applications amounts to credit card fraud. But that doesn’t zekering scammers from telling you they’re totally legal and charging you money for them. Rather than helping you fix your credit problems, they are only compounding the kwestie by helping you commit fraud (and possibly ruin the credit profile of the rightful holder of that SSN).
While much of the concentrate on synthetic identity fraud has bot on financial fraud, the crime can influence victims te another way, should one lump of the individual information a thief gives is yours. For example, it could lead to criminal identity theft if, during hechtenis, the person being arrested states a name then rattles off a nine-digit series of numbers spil their SSN which happens to belong to you, connecting your individual information to the hechtenis.
Of course, being victim to one of thesis types of identity theft does not mean that you will not become a victim of the other. Once your information has bot compromised, there is no telling where it may end up. That’s why it’s significant to monitor your credit reports and all account statements cautiously for signs of suspicious activity and to report anything out of the ordinary instantly.
Voeling the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.