NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 28, 2006

When most people think of identity fraud, checkbooks and credit cards come to mind. But a Social Security number or a birth certificate are equally, if not more, valuable to someone not able to work legally in the United States, says the Stockton Record.

Discrepancies often are discovered when employees' federal tax forms are submitted by employers to the Social Security Administration.

  • The Social Security Administration matches names with Social Security numbers before forwarding them to the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Of 231 million Wage and Tax Statements (W2s) filed by employers during tax year 2004, 8 million did not match (this figure is not exclusive to identity fraud, it also includes numbers that did not match for different reasons, such as name changes).
  • Californians owned 29 percent of those mismatches, the greatest number of any state.

"It is identity fraud," said Beth Givens, director of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that helps consumers with privacy rights issues.

People have been denied public assistance because IRS records showed they had income that they didn't know about, said Givens.

One of Givens' clients found her identity was being used by someone else when she received a phone call from the California Franchise Tax Board regarding unclaimed income.  A Hispanic woman had been running a day care since 2004 using the woman's Social Security number.

Source: Jennie Rodriguez, "Illegal immigrants steal identities to get jobs," Stockton Record, November 26, 2006.

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