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Synthetic Identity Fraud in the US Payment System

Date Updated: June 23, 2021

The U.S. payment system faces dynamic, persistent and rapidly escalating threats as technological developments in cybercrime make it easier than ever to commit payments fraud. Since 2015, the Federal Reserve has collaborated with a wide array of industry stakeholders to advance U.S. payments security. This is consistent with the approaches described in our paper, Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System: Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey.

Synthetic identities can be used to deceive government or corporate systems into thinking they are real people – creating far-reaching impacts on the U.S. financial system, healthcare industry, government entities and individual consumers. While synthetic identities are sometimes used without criminal intent, there are serious consequences when criminals use them to steal funds, escape detection or facilitate drug and human trafficking. They also have been linked to crime rings, including those that fund terrorism.

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infographic of synthetic identity fraud