Wednesday, December 20, 2006


In the news this week has been the INS raid on the meat packing houses of Swift in which over 1500 employed illegal immigrants were arrested. All the illegal’s had qualified for employment at Swift by presenting one or more of the 10 documents required by the federal I-9 form for Employment Eligibility Verification. Among these is a passport, driver’s license, social security number (SSN), Certificate of Naturalization, foreign passport with US employment authorization, permanent resident card, alien resident card, temporary resident card, employment authorization card, temporary resident card, refugee travel document, or employment authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.

At KnightsBridge Castle we are continually seeing cases where identity theft is facilitated by making up a number in the SSN format and using it with another name. Credit reporting companies and other information companies see this all the time and never report a mismatch. Thus if you have credit under your SSN and name, another person can easily get credit using your SSN and their name. Yes, its sounds impossible, but it happens every day.

Until recently the same inability to match names to SSN’s was preventing employers from checking the validity of the name SSN match. Recent federal legislation now provides employers with the ability to validate these names and SSN for a proper match.

This legislation was intended to prevent illegal immigrants from seeking employment.

Like so many other efforts to block identity theft, this one is doomed to failure. Why?

Because, as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the Swift raid, illegal immigrants seeking employment are already beginning to use valid name and SSN combinations. Name and SSN combinations can be stolen, rented, donated by other legal family members, purchased on the street, or acquired in many different ways.

SSN and Name matching are no protection against identity theft. This well intentioned effort at curbing illegal employment will actually accelerate identity theft by encouraging others to use valid name and SSN combinations, rather than simply making up a valid number.


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