A Growing Trend And A Growing Threat: Synthetic Identity
Have you heard the term synthetic identity?
And why is it important for seniors and those who practice and perform elder care to know and understand?
What’s in your wallet? Do you carry your Social Security card? Your driver’s license? Your bank account information? Many seniors are accustomed to carrying this kind of information in their wallets. Youngsters too. When a child gets their Social Security card and they have to know the number when they get a part-time job, they have it handy in their wallet.
Unfortunately, even though we tend to be a little more focused on digital fraud these days, we cannot relax our attention to the fact that there are criminals who are looking to steal purses and wallets. And it’s less for the money these days than it is for the personal information that can be much more lucrative.
I recently read an article on AARP that warns seniors about the risk of the synthetic identity and urging them to reconsider what they carry in their wallets.
According to the article, “Less is more when it comes to what’s in your wallet because criminals have begun creating synthetic identities, a fast-growing form of fraud.” https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2021/wallet-protection.html?cmp=EMC-DSO-NLC-WBLTR-FRD–BAU-121021-F1-5993997&ET_CID=5993997&ET_RID=25141569&encparam=0SsxU8w7NY1XXi1khwbGqFe3sjNRgcaVW8dRTz6YJTI%3d
This is more complex than simply stealing an identity. According to a leader in fraud detection, “A synthetic identity is a combination of fabricated credentials where the implied identity is not associated with a real person. Fraudsters may create synthetic identities using potentially valid social security numbers (SSNs) with accompanying false personally identifiable information (PII).” https://risk.lexisnexis.com/insights-resources/article/synthetic-identity-fraud#:~:text=A%20synthetic%20identity%20is%20a,personally%20identifiable%20information%20(PII)
So, your information may not be used immediately. The criminals take their time and combine information they steal “with fake information to build a completely new identity, making synthetic identity fraud difficult to detect.”
The message is, pay attention to what’s in your wallet. If you have parents, please discuss this with them. Help them avoid becoming the victim of this new form of fraud. Pay close attention as you are out doing holiday shopping, when you go to the gym or forget your purse in your car. These are areas that are trolled by criminals looking for information to sell on the dark web.