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Synthetic identity fraud: The chameleon of fraud trends


Of the many fraud trends that shook the financial services industry during the pandemic, synthetic identity fraud (SIF) was arguably the biggest headliner. Synthetic fraud may have flown under the radar of many credit unions prior to the pandemic, but has rapidly garnered more scrutiny alongside escalating monetary losses and media coverage.

SIF involves fabricating a new identity procured from a mixture of fake information and authentic personally identifiable information (PII) stolen from multiple victims. The synthetic identity might use a legitimate Social Security number (SSN) and birth date from a real person, as well as random false data, to fill in any gaps.


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