What is Identity Fraud? Types and Prevention Strategies

identity fraud

Technological advancements have provided thousands of ways to improve our lifestyle and simplify real-life experiences. The reliance on technology has opened many avenues for human beings however some people with malicious motives exploit the technological innovations for their gains. Identity theft is a prevailing crime and continuously expanding at an alarming rate. The concept of identity theft is not new, it dates back to biblical times. Identity theft and identity fraud often used interchangeably, are badly affecting victims’ socio-psychological well-being. 

Identity Fraud – A Brief Overview

Identity fraud is a type of deceptive tactic where fraudsters steal or manipulatively acquire someone else’s information to conduct illicit activities. A study reveals that nearly 15 million residents of America fell victim to ID fraud each year, losing $50 billion. With the alarming rate at which ID theft is increasing, there’s a need to develop protective measures to combat the prevailing evil. 

Fraudsters get access to someone else’s information either by emotional manipulation, hacking, data breaches, or phishing. The vulnerable people who accidentally share their sensitive information, experience far-reaching consequences. Apart from financial losses that are obvious motives behind ID theft & fraud, reputational image, and psychological conditions are also damaged. 

Exploring Common Types of Identity Fraud 

Undoubtedly, technology is playing wonders in our lives and streamlined the processes of accessing services and privileges without physically visiting the place. For instance, a few years back passengers had to carry their passports and physical documents to complete the boarding process at border controls, but nowadays face recognition technology has effortlessly simplified the process, eliminating the need to carry physical ID documents. In a world where technology presents astonishing applications there also exists some bad actors who exploit technology to conduct their illicit maneuvers. Identity fraud prevention has become more crucial than ever with the evolving types of ID fraud. 

Fraud comes in various forms and continuously evolving as fraudsters employ sophisticated technology and advanced tools to accomplish their goals. 

A few common types of ID fraud are briefly explained here

Account TakeOver (ATO) Fraud

ATO fraud refers to a deceptive technique where cybercriminals get access to victim’s digital accounts. The accounts could be bank accounts, social media accounts, or e-commerce accounts. The consequences could be far-reaching as the sensitive information goes into the wrong hands. Fraudsters use phishing attempts, impersonation attacks, or install malware into victim’s systems to hack their accounts and utilize the acquired information for personal interest.  However, robust identity fraud detection can play a pivotal role in combatting the prevailing crime. 

Synthetic Identity Theft

As the name indicates, synthetic identity theft refers to a type of deceptive tactic where cybercriminals merge manipulatively acquired data with some fabricated information to generate a whole identity. The new ID seems less suspicious and seems so genuine that advanced ID verification systems fail to spot red flags. Synthetic identity is used to conduct potential financial transactions, harm trust, or damage the reputational image of victims who could be common people or big organizations. 

Medical ID Fraud

Cybercriminals leave no possibility unexplored to conduct their unethical goals aimed at personal interests. Even hospitals have become the target of scammer’s unethical motives and the rate of medical ID theft is prevalently increasing. Medical ID fraud takes place when cybercriminals acquire patient’s sensitive data and employ the obtained information to gain access to medical services and unprescribed medications. Patients who already suffer physical health conditions have to experience psychological trauma after falling victim to medical fraud.  

Credit Card Fraud

It is a prevalent type of ID fraud where cybercriminals gain access to the credit card details of individuals. Online hacking, credit card readers, skimming devices, and stolen identity cards are utilized to acquire credit card details. The acquired information is subsequently leveraged to conduct potential financial transactions, funds transfers, and wire transfers, causing victims to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

What are Effective Identity Fraud Protection Measures?

Undoubtedly, malicious actors have evolved their illicit maneuvers with technological innovation and leave no stone unturned to avail every possibility for personal interests. To stay ahead of cybercriminals and their deceptive tactics, it’s essential to establish effective identity fraud prevention strategies. 

  • The first and foremost strategy to tackle identity fraud is to stay updated about the latest types of ID theft and fraud. 
  • Ensure the legitimacy of the source before sharing sensitive information, as cybercriminals may ask for your personal information pretending to be contacting from authentic entities.
  • Reduce your digital footprint, such as posting your images on social media, as scammers even use your social media information to spoof or replicate your identity to conduct illicit activities.
  •  Secure online accounts by employing multi-factor authentication, making it daunting for cybercriminals to get access to your accounts. 
  • Frequently monitor bank accounts and keep track of credit card statements to spot suspicious activities and timely prevent them. 


The rising threats of ID fraud are pushing individuals and businesses to stay informed and develop effective identity fraud detection strategies to effortlessly combat the prevailing evil. Reporting any suspicious activity can prevent the loss of millions of dollars and early detection facilitates the efficacious prevention of fraud.


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