Freeze Your Social Security Number – Synthetic identity theft is the use of legitimate and fake information to create a fake identity, often used for fraud. In this guide, we explain how synthetic identity theft works, how you can detect it, and how identity theft protection services like Standard can help monitor your identity and warn you about fraudulent use of your personal information.

Synthetic identity theft is a type of identity theft where the identity thief mixes real and fake information to create fake personal information.

Freeze Your Social Security Number

Freeze Your Social Security Number

For example, a thief can steal a legitimate Social Security Number (SSN) and combine it with fake personally identifiable information, such as a fake name, date of birth, and address, to create an entirely new identity.

What To Do If You Get An Ssn Activity Alert

Unlike regular identity theft, synthetic identity theft can be difficult to detect. This is because identity thieves tend to target vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, the incarcerated and the homeless when they commit synthetic identity theft, as these groups are less likely to use credit or regularly check their credit reports.

How an identity thief ends up with a legitimate SSN varies. In some cases, the scammer may come across a lost wallet, while in other cases, they purchase legitimate SSNs on the dark web.

Once an identity thief has created a synthetic identity, they typically use it to commit financial fraud, such as applying for credit cards, loans, and unemployment benefits. Synthetic identities can also be used for money laundering or other crimes.

It’s important to remember that synthetic identity fraud usually doesn’t happen overnight. Some identity thieves may spend years slowly building a synthetic identity, building a long credit history and strong credit score to make their fake identity seem more believable.

Scam Alert: Be Aware Of Call Claiming To Be From Social Security

Synthetic identity theft is one of the most difficult types of identity theft to detect, as many financial institutions do not always have the right filters to identify false identities.

Additionally, an identity thief can build up a long history of responsible use of a fake identity before using it to commit identity fraud. That way, when a criminal decides to use a synthetic identity for nefarious purposes, it looks like the real person is experiencing sudden financial problems, rather than an identity thief pretending to be an identity fraud.

With that in mind, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of catching synthetic identity theft, including checking the following places for warning signs:

Freeze Your Social Security Number

In addition, identity theft protection services such as Standard can help monitor your identity. From patrolling your personal information on the dark web to reporting fraudulent use of your SSN or other personally identifiable information can provide you with peace of mind.

Was Your Ssn Found On The Dark Web? Do This

Once you understand how synthetic identity theft works and how you can help detect it, you may wonder how you can help prevent identity theft. Follow these security tips to reduce the risk of synthetic identity fraud.

While you can never completely prevent synthetic identity fraud, following the tips above can help you reduce your chances of being affected by synthetic and other identity theft. If it still happens to you, remember that reporting identity theft can help minimize the damage.

When it comes to protecting your identity, let us do the heavy lifting for you. With Standard, you can rest easy knowing that it closely monitors your credit, SSN and personal information for fraudulent use. Plus, handle your case personally if your identity has been compromised and connect you with experts who can help you recover it.

Synthetic identity theft occurs when a criminal creates an identity instead of stealing an existing one. The scam involves mixing real social security numbers or fake numbers with other information — names, addresses, and dates of birth — to create an entirely new identity, often using partially faked identification.

Can The Irs Freeze Your Bank Account?

In contrast, standard identity theft involves using one victim’s real name, social security number, and other personal information.

An example of synthetic identity theft is if an identity thief buys your SSN on the dark web. From there, the identity thief uses a fake name, date of birth and address to create a fictitious identity. Once a fraudster has created this identity, they can use it to apply for credit cards and commit financial fraud.

Editorial Note: Our articles provide you with educational information. Norton offers may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud or threat we write about. Our goal is to raise awareness of cyber security. Check the full terms during registration or installation. Keep in mind that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and it does not monitor all transactions at all companies.

Freeze Your Social Security Number

Dropbox said its servers had not been breached. “Your stuff is safe. Usernames and passwords…were stolen from other services, not Dropbox.

How To Freeze Your Credit With Experian, Equifax And Transunion

Stay up-to-date with the latest identity theft news and stories about what law enforcement and elected officials are doing to protect consumers from becoming victims.

Most credit card companies give the victim 90 days to report an unauthorized transaction, while banks usually require a two-day notice for unauthorized debit card purchases.

Copyright © 2023 Gen Digital Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks, service marks and trade names (collectively the “Marks”) are trademarks or registered trademarks of Gen Digital Inc. or its affiliates (“Gen”) or other respective owners who have granted Gen the right to use such marks. For a list of Gen Digital brands, visit Coupons 22 Gifts for $50 or Less Microsoft Owns Activision Blizzard Hotel Mattress at Home Cheapest Electric Cars FAST TV Explained Pixel 8 Pro Continuous Review

Dan was a writer on the How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest, and elsewhere. He is a crossword freak and is interested in the intersection of technology and marginalized communities.

How To Freeze Your Social Security Number Online (self Lock)

“It’s terrible from a security perspective,” cyber privacy expert Alan Butler says of Social Security numbers becoming universal identifiers.

Social security numbers are essential for obtaining a credit card, a home and even a salary. They are probably the most important personal data we have.

That’s not what they’re meant for: social security numbers were first issued in the 1930s only as a way to manage state pension and disability benefits.

Freeze Your Social Security Number

But since almost every US citizen and permanent resident has a Social Security number, they are now the most common method of authentication for cell service carriers, utility companies, and even retail businesses. This makes them a prime target for identity theft. The Equifax data breach in 2017 may have exposed the Social Security numbers of nearly half of all Americans.

Free Report Unauthorized Use Of A Ssn

How do you know when you should—and shouldn’t—share your community? We consult experts.

You can find more information about social security here, how to order a new social security card and use social security benefits online.

While protecting your Social Security number is important, there are legitimate reasons to share those nine digits.

“Every company you go to for a loan or a line of credit needs your number,” Paige Hanson, cybersecurity training manager at NortonLifeLock, said in an interview.

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

That includes banks and credit bureaus, Hanson said, but it can also mean a cell phone service provider because a phone contract is like a line of credit.

Your Social Security number will also be required for anything that triggers tax reporting, including your employer reporting your wages to the IRS, said Alan Butler, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit focused on protecting privacy and identity rights.

You must share it if you have an investment advisor or are making a cash transaction of $10,000 or more—for example, buying a car or a house.

Freeze Your Social Security Number

Government agencies that provide benefits may also ask for your number, including the US Department of Labor and state agencies that administer Medicaid. Requests must be accompanied by a notification form that explains whether the number is mandatory or optional, confirms the agency’s authority to request it, and explains what it will be used for.

How A Credit Freeze Can Help You Manage And Protect Your Credit

There are many other cases in which you should not provide your Social Security number. With phishing schemes becoming more common, never give out your information via email or phone.

“If you don’t initiate the call, never share your personal information,” NortonLifeLock’s Hanson said. “Even if it looks like it’s coming from a legitimate company you’re doing business with.”

Verifying the last four digits of your social information is less of a risk, Hanson said, because the information is already with the company.

Not everyone who asks for your number has bad intentions: “Some companies just want your code just because it’s a faster way to find your account,” Hanson added.

What Number Does Social Security Call From?

Others may want it if they ask you to sign a contract, such as a gym membership. “It’s an easier way to go to a collection agency if they have to,” Hanson said. “But there are other ways.”

While employers can ask for your Social Security, “it’s definitely not required to get a job,” Hanson said. That’s right

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