Friday, August 10, 2007

Social Security Numbers Fraud on the Rise

Identity theft and illegal immigrant workers are becoming an increasing trend in the war against fraud. As these illegal aliens become more desperate to obtain citizenship, knowing the risks of immigration reform are on the way, these folks are willing to do whatever it takes to “appear” as American citizens.

Houston is the leading city for Social Security numbers theft in the U.S. These illegals learn quickly that if they obtain a Social Security number, they can easily obtain other personal information in order to get a drivers license, a checking account, loans, medical insurance, etc. at the expense of someone else’s identity.

Late last year in December, as part of a massive raid on Swift & Company, a meat plant in Cactus, Texas, about an hour outside Amarillo, 1,282 natives of Mexico and Guatemala were arrested for allegedly working in this country illegally. The raid, which also took place at Swift’s headquarters in Greeley, CO and 4 other states, resulted in 219 employees facing state and federal charges. The Social Security numbers that these Union employees were using actually belonged to American citizens who had no direct relationship to Swift’s plant. This was one of the largest raids regarding immigrants since Congress began discussions of Immigration Reform.

The dynamics of this raid involved at least 5 government agencies. Not only was theft and fraud involved, but many of these illegal immigrants had children who were born in this country and therefore citizens. So, children placed in the foster care system were a huge issue. Then you have the fact that these illegals were unable to work while their cases were under investigation. Then, of course, you have the costs of deportation.

In addition to the estimated $30 million it will cost Swift & Company to replace lost workers, they are facing federal charges for non-compliance and certainly could have reduced the effects of the raid, which created such controversy, had they used a Social Security number verification service to ensure that these Spanish speaking folks were working in this country legally.

The bottom line is that Congress has been working toward a solution on this issue as empathetically as possible, considering the long and timely neglect of securing our borders and American companies neglecting their ethical obligations to ensure they hire persons who have a right to work here. It’s not going to be an easy resolution by any means. The Immigration Reform Act of 2007 will continue to require evaluation and modification. Congress is currently discussing whether Social Security numbers should no longer be a requirement for use on the internet, on checks, and other areas of vulnerability.

Businesses should take heed now. Employers should proactively pursue using a Social Security number verification service in addition to any other background checks they perform during the hiring process, especially in the fields of manual labor where hiring of illegal aliens may be susceptible. The law is coming - be prepared now.


Ed Dickson said...

Nice article and great picture. This is a subject dear to my heart, also!

A. Van Gogh, Licensed Associate said...

Ed, I've read some of your articles and know that you are passionate about this issue. I have added a link to your blog so others can gain value from your experience and expertise. Thanks for posting!