The Process of “Frankenstein” Synthetic Theft
Often, fraudsters will go about making their made-up identity by either picking a random credit privacy number (CPN), social security number (SSN) or purchase one on the dark web. Their preference being a CPN of someone who is younger than 18 years old. The reason for this is because that person won’t have a credit history, wouldn’t apply for credit until they’re 18 and therefore won’t notice a difference in their score.
Once they have their CPN or SSN, they will make up details including, date of birth and name not relating to the stolen CPN. The next step is to build up a good credit score (which can take years to nurture), once accomplished they then apply and max out all available loans and credit cards to then eventually disappear and (most probably) find their next victim.
This type of fraud is harder to be detected and often goes unnoticed for years because there is no clear identifiable victim.
How To Protect Yourself
Can you stop synthetic theft? The simple answer is no. Unfortunately, much like most types of theft there isn’t a way to 100% protect yourself and in this case as there is no victim as such so it is even harder as a lot of the information is made up.
You can help prevent yourself by following the below tips:
- Monitor your credit report and if you have children, ensure you monitor anything in their name as they are at higher risk than you
- Always be cautious about any phone calls or emails where you are being asked to give away any personal information
- Ensure your passwords are strong, long and different for every account
- Credit websites such as Experian can continually monitor your financial data and offer victim of fraud support
- If you’re worried about your credit score and falling victim to fraudsters, you should look into building up your credit history
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