Browse Definitions:
Definition

synthetic identity theft

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Synthetic identity theft is the use of someone's personally identifiable information (PII), which the thief combines with made-up details to create a false identity. 

The thief may steal an individual's social security number, for example, and use it in conjunction with a false name and address. The thief typically creates fake businesses to provide the identity with credit and employment histories. Once the identity is established, the thief can use it to obtain credit and open bank accounts, usually for fraudulent purposes. Less frequently, thieves use the information to create new identities for themselves or to sell. 

Synthetic identity theft often goes undetected. The person whose data was stolen doesn't usually also have funds stolen or credit charges made on their accounts because the thief opens new accounts. The thief accesses funds through these accounts, which are not connected to any actual person. 

The direct victims of synthetic identity theft are usually the creditors. Indirectly, consumers suffer as creditor losses are passed on to them. According to experts, the vast majority of identity theft fraud is based on synthetic IDs.

To prevent synthetic identity theft, any organization that stores personally identifying information should ensure that all details match for any given unique identifier

 

This was last updated in January 2014

Continue Reading About synthetic identity theft

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • incident management plan (IMP)

    An incident management plan (IMP), sometimes called an incident response plan or emergency management plan, is a document that ...

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close