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Illegal Workers And Identity Theft

Nov 17, 2007
Identity theft is a growing problem throughout the United States and the world. As many as nine million people in this country will have their identities stolen every year. One source of identity theft, although not the only one, is the practice of illegal workers using someone else's Social Security Number to obtain work and housing. Often, the identities used are of children or the very elderly, because these people aren't likely to notice that their identities are being used elsewhere to help someone get a job.

If the Social Security Administration's records don't match worker information, that worker's Social Security earning will be sent to a "suspense file." These files have been around since 1937, and by 2004, accounted for nearly six billion dollars in wages. This money came from more than two hundred sixty million W-2 forms that didn't match the information that they were supposed to. Theft from illegal workers is the most visible reason for this to happen. Over ninety percent of cases of identity theft are due to this reason. However, you could also find it happening if a worker has changed names without reporting it, or other information problems have occurred.

While the majority of identity theft by undocumented workers is done in an attempt to get a job, some incidents are more sinister. Bank fraud is another very common reason someone - whether legitimately in the country or not - might try to steal your identity. Since a federal immigration reform in 1986, employers have been required to keep the SSN and other information of any employee on hand. This means that all illegal immigrants who are trying to get a job that doesn't pay under the table have to find some way to give a valid social security number - and that number may be yours.

Recently, the Legislature held an interim meeting to discuss this problem, after which, the Bush administration announced a new policy to attempt to curb this problem. However, this policy is current under litigation, and has been temporarily placed under a restraining order until its validity under the Constitution can be proven. Until the government is able to take an appropriate step to curb identity theft by undocumented workers, there are a few things you can do yourself.

Making sure that all your personal documents have been shredded, using a modern cross-cut shredder, is one way to keep your identity safe. In addition, be careful what kind of information you put out in public, and keep a close eye on your personal identification - driver's license, Social Security card, etc. - at all times. These techniques will help guard against traditional identity theft - the kind that can involve bank fraud and ruin your credit. However, there's not a lot you can do to prevent someone from randomly picking your SSN in an attempt to get a job. Until more appropriate legislation comes into being, there's little we can to do protect ourselves from that problem. Thus now you know more about Illegal Workers and Identity Theft.
About the Author
Author & internet entrepreneur Bernard Pragides offers expert advice & tips regarding identity theft. Learn more about identity theft & fraud by visiting his identity theft blog and his website http://www.IdentityProtek.com for more helpful info.
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