Adults and children alike are not immune to escalating "synthetic identity fraud" schemes.
The vast amount of exposed PII, financial records, biometric data, online credentials, voter records, and photos provides a wealth of information for criminals to mix, match, and piece together to create synthetic IDs.
Fraudsters can use their “new” identity to open a new bank account, open new lines of credit to establish credit history, and ultimately buy homes, cars, you name it! This type of fraud can go undetected for years.
Synthetic identity fraud is a relatively recent phenomenon that is on the rise. McKinsey claims synthetic ID fraud is the fastest-growing type of financial crime in the U.S. LexisNexis Risk Solutions (via Yahoo Finance) found that "61% of fraud losses for [large] banks stem from identity fraud [and] 20% of the identity fraud incurred by these larger banks is synthetic identity fraud." Synthetic fraud differs from traditional identity fraud in that instead of assuming the identity of a real person using their credit, it creates a new identity using a real social security number with a fictitious name, driver’s license and address. How is this possible? To create a synthetic identity, a scammer simply needs an unused social security number, often from a child. With this fresh social security number, they can establish a new identity with the credit bureaus.