Have You Heard of “Synthetic Identity Fraud”?

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Bankrate.com has an excellent article about this little-known type of fraud called synthetic identity fraud. This is really interesting. In true identity fraud, an individual’s personal information is used without her or his knowledge or consent to open new credit account. In synthetic identity fraud, the credit lines opened are not necessarily tied to one person, as the thief uses a smattering of information from different people to commit the fraud.

Why is synthetic identity fraud a problem? Because your social security number could be used on a credit application and you might never know about it. The thieves combine real and fake information, typically using a real social security number but a fake name.? Because all the information doesn’t match a real person, it may never end up on your credit report.

But that might not stop a collection agency from coming after you for the money. Collection agencies often track down the real holder of a social security number, and demand payment. That’s why it’s important to not only keep track of your credit report, but also monitor the use of your social security number with a service that can scan the internet, black market, and public records for that information.

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