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Defining synthetic identity fraud once and for all


I had the honor of serving on a Federal Reserve committee this past winter to define synthetic identity fraud. The result of this effort was the release of a paper that defines it for the industry, an essential step forward in the fight against this pervasive threat.

Fraudsters Thrive on Imprecision

Synthetic identity fraud can be a perfect crime. Fraudsters can simulate information and find loopholes to register that information in credit systems. It often goes unnoticed because there is no consumer victim contacting a lender to report a fraudulent account. Financial institutions often treat losses tied to synthetic identities as credit losses because they lack any ties to real consumers who report a stolen identity. This makes it hard for banks to identify and remediate in their fraud queues.


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