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Synthetic identity theft

(also synthetic identity fraud)

Synthetic identity theft definition

Synthetic identity theft occurs when someone creates fake identities, either by combining stolen and fabricated information or by creating fake personas from scratch. Some synthetic identity theft goes so far as to use AI to generate fake faces to fool biometric verification.

A common way to abuse synthetic identities is to artificially build a good credit rating, borrow a large sum of money, and disappear.

Synthetic identity theft example

  • Scammers can use synthetic identities to fake their credit histories, open new bank accounts, or artificially inflate their credit limit.
  • Undocumented migrants may resort to synthetic identity fraud to access social services or banks in their resident country.

Stopping synthetic identity theft

  • Avoid entering sensitive information on suspicious sites. Cybercriminals are looking for scraps of real data to add legitimacy to their claims. Use NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature to avoid accidentally entering a known malicious website.
  • Stay alert for phishing attacks. Cybercriminals may pose as operators or salespeople to coax you into revealing more about yourself. Never give any sensitive information to people you don’t trust completely.
  • Monitor your credit score. If you notice any unusual activity, someone might be using your data for loans or purchases.