Synthetic Identity Theft is Fastest Growing Financial Crime in US

The US Federal Reserve published a paper discussing the use of “synthetic identity theft,” the fastest growing type of financial crime in the US. While traditional identity theft involves using an individual’s true personally identifiable information (PII), synthetic identity theft combines a legitimate Social Security number with fictitious data such as date of birth, name, and address. These criminal acts are facilitated by the large amount of information that has been exposed in data breaches over the years. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 446 million records were exposed between 2017 and 2018. Synthetic identity theft cost lenders approximately $6 billion in 2016 alone. The NJCCIC highly advises individuals review the Federal Reserve paper and consider placing freezes on their credit profiles with the major credit bureaus. This free and proactive option prevents a criminal from opening an account using your information. More information regarding credit freezes can be found on the Federal Trade Commission webpage.