I thought I would put up a reasonably succinct post regarding the relationship of identity theft and illegal immigrants. However, this relationship also extends to fugitives (including child porn peddlers), deadbeat parents, and others who wish to skirt the law but obtain a job and income (they too engage in employment-related identity theft). I thought this would be best since I noted that the current amnesty bill will also grant amnesty to those who engaged in identity theft.
Here is a scenario of how identity theft is used:
My name is Fritz. I entered the country on a flight from Germany in 1995. On the immigration form I filled out when I entered at the airport, I declared that I was entering as a tourist for a month visit (not my intent, but I wanted in). Rather than going through the arduous process of getting a work visa etc, I illegally stayed in the country.
I began to look for a job and realized that I needed a Social Security number to work as I had no work visa etc.
I rapidly found an identity dealer [unfortunately, ID theft is big in our country]. Ultimately, I knew there were two possibilities with the card I received:
1. A made up number which may or may not belong to someone. (Note: made up, unissued numbers are later issued to a newborn; thus they are born into identity theft)
2. A known SSN that belongs to a US citizen (either someone live or a deceased person’s identity).
I hoped for the first but I was short on money and needed to work if I was to make a life in this country.
I used the SSN card and number to fill out my work forms and falsify the citizenship statement on the I-9 form [several felonies have now been committed]. My employer asks nothing nor do they verify the SSN, as their priority is to get my labor.
I begin work for the company and have moved up the ladder over the past 12 years. I am married with two children (both in school) and I have obtained a car loan and a home using the SSN. I have kept up on all my payments.
My name is Julie. I was born in 1990. Unbeknownst to me or my family, my identity was stolen in 1995 (I was five years old [see video below]) and to transfered Fritz along with 10 others who have used it since [identity thieves target children’s identities as they are unlikely to check their credit reports etc].
I will soon be graduating from high school and my family is a lower-middle class family. I applied for a pell grant, a scholarship for low income families, and some student loans. All have been denied because earnings reports (linked to SSN) indicate I made too much to qualify.
Ultimately, While Fritz didn’t impact my credit, two of the other’s using my number did. I do not qualify for a low interest loan based on my credit score and have been denied a credit card (I can’t even get an internet access account).
At this time, I will likely have to postpone going to University as I can not afford to and must clear up my social security records and credit record so as to attempt to qualify for the scholarships, grants, and loans. I hope to have it all cleared up so that I can attend the second semester but the scholarships and grants are likely all allocated. I will have to go into more debt (loans) than expected in order to start mid-year or commence my college education next year.
Fritz and the 10 others will been given amnesty for the SSN identity theft. Also, do not think that your credit can be protected simply by checking it twice a year etc (see the footnote on this post for a link to the MSNBC story)
I hope that was brief and to the point. The best case scenario is that Julie’s credit is ok but she would still have to contend with the earnings ultimately disqualifying her from the scholarships, grants, etc (likely to result in him postponing her education). Additionally, if a number is made up rather than stolen, there is still a 50/50 chance that the number belongs to someone (half of all SSNs have been allocated). That means Julie could have been born into identity theft (the ‘made up number’ is assigned to her after she was born – see the second video, below).
Unfortunately, everyone continues to focus on the lives of the illegal immigrants while forgetting the victims.
Ending on the positive – If you want to check on you SS report or that of your children’s, see my post on checking SSNs (UCourts). Also, now would be a good time to contact your Senators and Representative.
Here’s the link to the story and here’s the video:
UPDATE (2012): Updated title to better reflect illegal labor using fraudulent identities and added a minor amount of text in first paragraph for same reason.