Alarming trend represents the majority of all identity fraud
Last Updated: Jan. 29, 2014
WHAT IS SYNTHETIC ID THEFT?
Thieves create fake identities and establish new credit accounts by
- combining stolen real identifying information with fake information; or
- using totally fake information, such as fictional children, a practice called identity farming
HOW IT COULD AFFECT YOU
If someone uses your SIN to work illegally or to obtain credit
- you may be liable to pay additional taxes for income you did not receive
- you could have difficulty obtaining credit because someone may have ruined your credit rating
- you may be liable for expenses that were incurred in your name or using your social insurance number
HOW IT"S DONE
Typically thieves create a fictional identity by combining a real SIN/SSN number with a fake (often slightly altered) name.
Due to the way information gets collected and stored, variations in credit files occur naturally, and SIN numbers may be associated with more than one name due to misspellings, typos, or name changes after marriage.
Thieves exploit these variations to establish credit histories for fictitious persons by creating fake businesses to establish credit accounts and to invent employment histories.
steal personal identifying information such as SIN#
create fake identity associated with real SIN#
create fake businesses
invent employment histories
establish credit accounts
establish credit histories
obtain credit under fake identity
BY THE NUMBERS
Synthetic identity fraud represents:
88.3%of all identity fraud events
73.8%of the total dollars lost by U.S. businesses
Systems that rely on public record databases are generally capable of detecting:
85%of synthetic identity fraud attempts
72%of true-name identity theft attempts
18%of total identity fraud attempts are not detectable using these systems
SYNTHETIC VS TRUE-NAME ID FRAUD
Thief poses as fictional person using identity based on a combination of fake and real consumer information
Thief poses as actual consumer using real unaltered identifying information
Mainly businesses and creditors, however costs are passed on to consumers through fees and higher interest rates; creditors may ignore fictitious name and pursue real consumer whose ID was used
Consumers are directly affected as their true identities are used
WHO HAS YOUR SIN NUMBER?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Memorize your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Don't carry your SIN card.
Never reveal your SIN to anyone unless you are certain the person asking is legally entitled to that information.
Get a free copy of your credit report from Canada's two national credit bureaus and review it for any suspicious activity.
Equifax: 1-800-465-7166 | TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980
Be on the lookout for mail sent to your home address with someone else's name, change-of-address notices, credit offers with variations on your name.
Notify the credit bureaus of your correct name. Contact Canada Post if you didn't initiate an address change.
If you get turned down for credit, make sure the lender or credit card company based their decision on your identity and your personal credit information only. Check for variations on your name.
Shred all paper records containing personal information.
Protect your electronic information with confidential passwords.
Store your tax returns, bank and credit card statements and other paper records in a safe place.
Many services offer fraud monitoring and alerts, recovery assistance and family coverage for a monthly fee.