ATLANTA - Identity fraud has been around for centuries. But, the internet is giving one type of ID theft a boost by giving fraudsters a way to cherry-pick info from different people, creating something called "Frankenstein fraud."
It's called "Frankenstein fraud" because identity thieves are creating a new person, stealing bits and pieces from a few folks at once. This synthetic identity is a fast-growing trend.
Fraudsters pick a fictitious name with a stolen social security number and a made-up date of birth, add in new contact information, and you have Frankenstein, a newly-created identity.
Again, this is a made-up person, so the bad guys try to make them seem more real by using this identity to apply for a phone number, a credit card, and more. Now this synthetic person has a credit history. And it gets deeper. Sometimes the fraudster gets a bunch of these Frankensteins, creates a shell company then reports these fake identities to credit reporting agencies and can later get large loans based off these identities.
Children are the most vulnerable population to this fraud. A security blog reports that 86% of parents don’t monitor their children’s credit reports. If they have given their social security number up to social media, the doctor, or even school, they are vulnerable. And two out of three parents didn’t know this was an issue.
But any account that’s rarely used is at risk for ID theft: children, the elderly, and the deceased.