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Synthetic identity fraud schemes have taken the United States by storm over the past 20 years, and are expected to generate nearly $5 billion in financial losses by 2024. Synthetic fraud is no longer a surprise attack on America’s financial and commerce systems — while the earliest fraudulent identities were completely fake, and many of the patterns used to establish synthetic identities early on are still being used today. Fortunately, the patterns of synthetic fraud are well understood and the profiles of manipulated and fabricated subtypes have been teased out, which will aid in stopping synthetic fraud in its tracks.

cartoon man creating fake identity  on phone Fraudsters create synthetic identities to blend in. Source: Socure
Fraudsters create synthetic identities to blend in. Source: Socure

Socure’s recent report examined years of tagged fabricated synthetic fraud data to identify patterns by name, demographics, habits, location and other behaviors to help guide organizations’ approaches to identifying and combating synthetic fraud.

In analyzing the patterns for first names and surnames, it noticed very common choices, which led the company to believe that bad actors are strategically creating synthetic identities to blend in with the population. The goal to “blend in” doesn’t stop at names. It’s a trait shared by the remainder of patterns tied to these fabricated synthetic identities as well, including age, location, residence and more.

When combining the most popular first name for synthetic identities with the most popular surname for synthetic identities, we established the most common full name for synthetic identities: Michael Smith.

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Synthetic fraud will continue to plague the industry for the next several years. The only way to completely solve for synthetic fraud is to work together as an industry to stop the damage that bad actors are committing against consumers and our financial system.

Read the full report from Socure.

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