I’ve been planning to plug UCourts again for checking who is using your child’s identity (or your identity) and after yesterday, I figured now would be a good time to quit putting it off.
With the recent Utah election results (Chaffetz being the exception), it is highly unlikely that employers will never be required to verify identities of those they employ. As a matter of fact, I expect we will take a step back and watch as the 2009 (non-election year) legislature guts the recently passed legisltation that requires State contractors to verify identity of their employees (at least the Feds require it now).
The result is that children’s identities will continue to be a prime commodity for identity thieves, illegal immigrants, fugitives and deadbeat parents. Unfortunately, that means you will be on your own to proactively protect your and your children’s identities.
The best resource, thus far, that I have found is UCourts.com (click here for a more detailed review/discussion – also note: I have NO financial etc affiliation with UCourts). It will cost you $5 per search but this remains the best deal by far that I have found. I have also been very satisfied with UCourts customer service. In any case, UCourts allows you to type in your child’s social security number and view a report (hopefully blank) on who is using the number.
While it may be annoying to have to check identities, I can not recommend doing so strongly enough. Cleaning up identity theft is an incredibly time consuming and costly venture but the sooner you discover and act upon the theft the greater the above costs are mitigated. Further, it is much better to take proactive action to discover identity theft than find out when the IRS comes to collect the back taxes you or your two year old owe for that second, third, or twentieth job using your Social Security Number, or when your child is turned down for income qualifying scholarships or internet access based on their unexpectedly high earnings or bad credit histories.
Unfortunately, even law enforcement (depending on the department) is often unwilling to help as in the case below. While talking to the family, they noted that the California law enforcement agency was not interested in taking action against the individual using the child’s identity (the family even know his name and location thanks to UCourts). At least in her case LifeLock stepped up and helped:
Finally, child identity theft is much more prevalent than most people believe. It is estimated that up to 50,000 Utah children have had their identities compromised and 1.1 million in Arizona (PDF) may have as well (note: Arizona now requires all employers to verify identity). Strong vigilance on your identity will continue to be necessary to lower the chances of becoming a victim:
UPDATE: Will this change my prediction on SB81 being gutted: Most Utahns stand behind get-tough immigration bill
No, it will not. While 75% want the bill left intact and 55% want measures expanded, given the recent Utah election results, we will, likely, see them gut the bill and guarantee Utah’s continued status as a gateway state for illegal immigrants and job-safe haven for fugitives and other identity thieves.