BBB warns of synthetic identity theft

BBB warns of "synthetic" identity theft

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Monica Horton joined Brian Shrull in studio to talk about the evolution of identity theft scams.

The Better Business Bureau says that scammers are combining information from multiple people to create a false identity.

This new technique is called synthetic identity theft.

Scammers steal a Social Security number (often one that belongs to a minor or someone with no credit history) and combine it with the address of an abandoned property, a fake name and a birth date.

The scammers then apply for a credit card with the information. The application will be denied since they don’t have a credit profile, but this step creates an online record of a person that doesn’t actually exist.

Then they will add the fake person to one or more legitimate accounts and build up a credit history over time.

Once approved for a large enough credit line, the scammer charges the cards to the limit, doesn’t pay them back, discards the fake identity and then disappears.

The BBB has put together a list to help protect yourself from synthetic identity theft:

  • Minimize your exposure. Never give out your Social Security number if you don’t absolutely have to.
  • Protect your child’s personal information. Children often get their identities stolen because they have a clean, blank state.
  • Keep an eye on your communications. Follow up right away if you receive any mail or phone calls regarding you or your child that seems like a red flag.

For more tips on avoiding scams and keeping your identity safe, click here.

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