We have all been educated on protecting ourselves from identity theft; shred your important documents, protect your mail, don’t share passwords etc. As is all too common, the criminal element has become quite sophisticated and has found new ways to cheat the system. Synthetic name fraud has created a whole new problem for employers too. Criminals and undocumented residents are acquiring legitimate Social Security Numbers and assigning their own name to them, essentially giving themselves a new credit history and erasing a criminal past. This practice is used to start a fresh credit history and exposes employers to the risk of hiring undocumented workers. Recently a man was arrested after it was discovered he had been using the SSN of a deceased man for 20 years, he worked at an airport! E-verify does not always catch synthetic name fraud, only Consent Based Social Security Verification (CBSV) can detect people attempting to use a SSN that does not belong to them.
What is CBSV?
CBSV is the only Social Security Validation with direct access to the Social Security Administration Master File and Death Index. It can be used for any legitimate purpose (pre-employment, post-employment, mortgages, students, patients, access authorization, etc.) CBSV validates Name, SSN, Gender, Date of Birth and Death Indicator and requires a specific signed release form authorizing the search called a SSA-89 Form.
CBSV was developed and is administered by the Social Security Administration. It can be used for any legitimate business purpose to match a Social Security Number to the applicant. It is consent based and can be run exclusively or selectively – there are no government regulations requiring when or on whom it should be done. It works by comparing Name, Gender, Date of Birth and Social Security Number with actual SSA Records and ensures accuracy by directly accessing the original source of data.
How is E-Verify Different?
E-Verify is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). It verifies employment eligibility of newly hired employees and/or employees assigned to a federal contract. Once enrolled in E-Verify, it must be run exclusively within 3 business days of hire, and cannot be run on existing employees.
E-Verify works by comparing the information entered on an employee's Form I-9 with SSA and DHS records to verify employment eligibility. The information returned is from multiple sources. It validates the legitimacy of the Social Security Number but may not compare all identifiers from the master index. It is not a very robust search, and is easy to scam.
The following article is about a man who used the identity of a 3 year old boy who was murdered in 1982. He used the boy’s identifiers to obtain a birth certificate, Social Security Card, Oregon Driver’s License, passport and voter registration card. He underwent background checks to work for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, where he was employed since 2002. A traditional SSN Trace or an E-Verify search would not have caught this. CBSV however, would have returned a death indicator and exposed the Identity Fraud.
Mystery Man who stole boy’s identity actually a Bulgarian Immigrant
In 2010, a study was done to evaluate E-Verify and revealed a 54% failure rate at identifying unauthorized workers. According to the research company who conducted the study, the failure rate is because it can’t detect identify fraud. See the full text of the article published in the Washington Times about this study. It is however important to note, improvements have been made in the past 2 years, but the failure rate remains a problem.
Washington Times Article: Most Illegal Workers Elude E-Verify
How does CBSV detect Identify Theft?
Synthetic Identity Fraud is the fastest growing type of Identity Theft. It’s when someone uses their own name and identifiers, with a stolen SSN and blends them together. When this combination is used, it creates a new valid credit profile. This pollutes the pool of information and creates vulnerabilities in traditional validation searches. According to the FTC there are more than 10 million more credit profiles in the system than there are consumers. It’s simple to steal a valid SSN. Websites like SSNValidator.com allow anyone to use SSN Algorithms to test unlimited combinations of numbers for free and find a valid SSN.
Stolen SSN’s are marketed as Credit Profile or Credit Privacy Numbers (CPN) as a way to get a clean credit slate or one with a high score. A simple internet search will reveal multiple websites and how-to videos for obtaining a new “CPN”. Below are links to just a few of these:
Why aren’t these websites shut down?
Many of these websites are operated in offshore countries with untraceable IP addresses, so authorities are unable to shut them down. Even if sites are removed, they can pop back up within hours with a different URL.
Contact Pinnacle today for more information on CBSV.
Pinnacle Investigations is a full-service risk management and investigation company that provides accurate, thorough and timely background investigations. Pinnacle is committed to the highest ethical standards and quality control practices and is committed to educating our clients about due diligence, applicable state and federal laws and the risks and liability associated with modern Human Resource Management. Our experienced team provides personalized customer service to each of our clients and strives for 100% satisfaction with the delivery of a superior product. Pinnacle lives out its motto ‘Our Passion is Your Protection’. Contact us today for more information