Privacy expert Chris Hoofnagle said, “What synthetic identity thieves do is pollute the files.”
This act could affect consumers who are seeking a loan or job seekers applying for employment.
Hoofnagle said the trouble isn’t always financial.
“I had another gentleman, his Social Security number was used by someone who was tried for murder, and so every time there was a background check that pulled up his name, it linked these other databases showing him as arrested for murder,” said Hoofnagle.
To find out if you’re a victim, experts said there are steps you can take.
“Look at your Social Security statement that you receive once a year from the government carefully and make sure that there isn’t income on there that you didn’t actually earn,” said Hoofnagle.
Without checking the statement, the IRS could end up knocking on your door, experts said.
If you receive a large portion of mail in someone else’s name, it could be a sign that your information is at risk.
“Your Social Security number right now is the key to really destroy your life because if someone uses it with or without your name, it still can come back to haunt you,” said Hoofnagle.