Synthetic IDs: Great For Fraudsters, Bad For Victims

Identity theft… without your full identity 

It’s called synthetic identity theft. Whether by a phishing scam, data breach, hack or physical theft, your information becomes compromised and falls into the wrong hands. Criminals use this stolen information to mix and match names, birthdays, Social Security numbers and addresses with other fabricated information to create synthetic IDs. Once the synthetic identity is made, criminals can make fraudulent charges to your bank account, open new lines of credit, order prescriptions and even commit crimes under your name. 

In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called synthetic identity theft “the fastest growing type of identity fraud in the United States.” Unlike “true name” identity theft, fraudsters only need to use certain pieces of your information — paired with the criminal’s own or fabricated information — to create a new, “synthetic” identity.

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15 Million Consumers Exposed in T-Mobile/Experian Hack

T-mobile/Experian Hack

Update 9:00 a.m. ET: An alternative identity theft protection service is now available to T-Mobile customers. Those interested in enrolling should contact Experian at 866-369-0422. You may also enroll in Experian’s ProtectMyID service using this number.

What happened?

On Thursday, T-Mobile disclosed they suffered a data breach involving 15 million current, former and perspective customers’ personally identifiable information (PII).

The attack was a result of cybercriminals hacking into Experian, a credit reporting bureau and identity theft protection provider who partners with T-Mobile to process credit applications on their behalf. Credit applications are commonly required for financing devices and applying for service plans. Continue reading

Scams in March 2014

Scams in March 2014

ATM Scam

What to Look For:Many thanks to Symantec for this helpful video demonstrating how scammers infiltrate ATM machines.  You can read in greater detail on Symantec’s site about how scammers can send an SMS to an ATM and have money spill out of the machine.  TIPS: From this video you can see that if someone is in front of an ATM with a keyboard it warrants attention.  If you see something like this report it immediately to the authorities, NEVER  confront criminals directly.


Jury Duty Phone Scam

What to Look For:  In this particular New Jersey county the scammers are posing as sheriff’s office employees and calling individuals to accuse them of missing jury duty. They then explain to their victims that they can avoid arrest by providing a credit card number or prepaid debit card to pay a fine and have the warrant lifted. TIPS: Check your caller ID.  You will only receive calls from a government agency from a publicly listed government agency phone number.


Foreign Lottery Scam

What to Look For:  You just won the lotto!  Who wouldn’t want to hear that news?  That’s what these scammers are counting on.  The scam: A letter is received declaring you have won a foreign lottery.  The letter also includes a check for some of the winnings. All you have to do is deposit the check and wire them the required non resident taxes to receive your full winnings. TIPS:


PayPal Scam

What to Look For:  PayPal scams abound across the internet.  These scams are popular within the cyber criminal community. They usually come in the form of an alert stating your PAYPAL transaction was declined. TIPS: The best place to understand this scam and see great examples of what a PayPal scam visually looks like is here on the PayPal site.


NetFlix Scam

What to Look For:  Crooks are sending out emails stating your NETFLIX account has been suspended.  You are directed to call an 800 number to clear the matter up.  On the other end of the line is where the scam artist is waiting to get all your personal information acting as a NETFLIX tech agent. TIPS:

  • DO NOT call this number
  • DO NOT click on any links within the email.
  • Contact NETFLIX directly to report the scam. Click here to read more details on this scam.