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Synthetic identities

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

SYNTHETIC

Thief poses as fictional person using identity based on a combination of fake and real consumer information

«   »

TRUE-NAME

Thief poses as actual consumer using real unaltered identifying information

WHO HAS YOUR SIN NUMBER?

WHAT YOU CAN DO

MONITOR YOUR SIN#
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.

CREDIT REPORT
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

CHECK FOR SUSPICIOUS MAIL
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.

SCRUTINIZE CREDIT DENIAL LETTERS
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.

GUARD YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
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.

CONSIDER USING IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION SERVICES
Many services offer fraud monitoring and alerts, recovery assistance and family coverage for a monthly fee.