Making Sense of Security

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Making Sense of Security

FBI, This Week: Synthetic Identity Theft

The FBI says the fastest growing financial crime in the United States targets some of society’s most vulnerable citizens: children and the elderly.


Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: The FBI says the fastest growing financial crime in the United States targets some of society’s most vulnerable citizens: children and the elderly.

It’s called synthetic identity theft, and it differs from traditional ID theft because criminals don’t steal an identity—they create one using a combination of real and fake information.

When they use that identity to apply for credit, a new credit file is generated.

The fraud is difficult to detect, so to help prevent your child’s Social Security number from being used as part of a synthetic ID, the FBI’s Jill Adams suggests checking their credit reports and…

Jill Adams: Parents can request that credit bureaus freeze their children’s credit until they’re 16.

Halpern: Supervisory Special Agent Zacharia Baldwin also recommends…

Zacharia Baldwin: The other thing they can do is have their children signed on as an authorized user for their credit profile. They don’t actually have access to the card to make purchases, but they’re linked to their accounts. This is often done to build their credit; then when go into the real world, they have an existing credit profile with good credit.

Halpern: With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.

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