Synthetic Identity Theft: Has Become The New Face Of Identity Theft
Identity theft is rampant resulting in millions of dollars of damage each year in the United States. Over the last few years, the face of identity theft has changed. Unfortunately, consumers do not realize this change primarily due to the advertising of credit bureaus, some ID theft service companies and lack of news. ID thieves are the one group that understands the changing faces of identity theft. Yet, what can a person do to prevent ID theft when it is misunderstood and changing?
To understand the problem, you must first realize why thieves want your identity. The answer is simple; they want your credit (money), they want to hide their identity, they want certain services, or they desire employment.
Several years ago, the prevalent type of identity theft was "true name" identity theft. This is when a real person's identifying information is used without modification. The thief actually poses as the victim. According to a study by ID Analytics, this accounts for a small portion of all identity fraud; 10 – 15 percent. In these cases, continuous credit monitoring, fraud alerts and credit freezes play a role in keeping the consumer aware of their credit file status.
However as with any theft, once the thief realizes you have caught onto them, they change, modify their actions and come after you wearing a different face. A face harder to detect which credit monitoring, fraud alerts and credit freezes do not readily provide you with protection. These include non-credit theft such as, medical identity theft, criminal identity theft and the fastest growing and hardest to detect synthetic identity theft.
Medical identity theft:
Is when a thief uses a consumer's personal identifying information to acquire medical services. This is non-credit identity theft. This can become a serious health risk since it places erroneous medical information in the consumer's medical records. Based on medical privacy laws, erroneous medical records are more difficult to clean up compared to credit records. Credit monitoring, fraud alerts nor credit freezes will inform you or stop medical identity theft.
Criminal identity theft:
Occurs when certain credentials are presented to law enforcement the results could be criminal record or arrest warrants. This is non-credit identity theft. The consumer may never know until they are stopped for a driving violation and realize there is an arrest warrant in their name. Credit monitoring, fraud alerts nor credit freezes will inform you or stop criminal identity theft.
Synthetic identity theft:
Is the fastest growing type of ID fraud and its occurrences have surpassed "true-name" identity fraud. The ID Analytics study states it currently accounts for 80 -85 percent of all identity fraud.
This is when thieves combine real and fake information to create a brand new and different identity. For example; they use your Social Security number and combine it with a different name, address and phone number. They can then open new accounts, acquire credit cards, cell phones and other goods and services not in your name but because of your social security number.
A problem is that synthetic ID theft creates a fragmented or sub-file to your main credit file. A fragmented file refers to additional credit report information tied to your Social Security number, but someone else's name and address. Negative information entered in the fragmented file that is then linked to you, but doesn't actually belong to you. If you have good credit but there is derogatory information is in the fragmented file, it could negatively impact your ability to get credit. Since this type of ID Theft does not affect your main credit file; it often doesn't hit your credit report nor will a fraud alert or credit freeze help. This means it takes longer to find out you've been victimized, making it harder for you to clear your name. When they run up 1000s of dollars of debt and disappear, the creditors will eventually back track to you.
Bottom Line like most things that you feel are secure or detectable there is always somebody with the skill, knowledge and drive to circumvent the system. It's highly recommended that you frequently check your credit for inaccuracies and always question something that doesn't seem correct. Many consumers feel that only individuals or couples who share a derogatory joint credit file are a result of an unexpected downturn in life or simply a self inflicted wound due to irresponsibility. Often that may be the case although bad things happen to good people everyday so please don't be mistaken, 700 plus credit holders are more often hit much harder with some form of Identity theft than those in the lower spectrum of credit scores.
If you have worked hard at developing a 700 or even an 800 plus credit score you should be proud of such an accomplishment. All we are trying to do is remove the negative connotations that surrounds the millions of consumers who actually can benefit from addressing derogatory items in their personal credit files via credit correction services. Whether it be a do it yourself method or the hiring of a reputable Credit Service Organization the need for this type of service is often required of those with exceptionally high credit scores as a result of the many forms of Identity Theft as listed above.
If you have fallen victim of one form or another of ID Theft don't feel ashamed as many large corporations as well as government agencies that possess the utmost security have fallen victims as well. Just don't bury your head in the sand in hopes it will correct itself, address it immediately since it's 100 percent your right thanks to The Fair Credit Reporting Act and other various consumer protection laws and statutes to ensure the information being reported about you is 100 percent valid and 100 percent accurate. No exceptions!