Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Some relate identity theft with the actual assumption of your name and personal data. Living a carefree life under your name, sticking you with all of the debt. But there are several ways your identity or even parts of it can be used fraudulently.
Having the pleasure of someone else file your taxes takes out all of the stress. When it’s a trusted professional it gives you peace of mind. When it’s a complete stranger who also accepts your refund on your behalf, it’s frustrating to say the least. Not long ago we were among the hundreds of thousands of victims of tax refund fraud. You file your taxes electronically and it gets rejected because someone else has already filed. You don’t know how your data was compromised or why the IRS accepted such an oversimplified return that is out of character with years of your own filings, but it happened. The IRS doesn’t figure out who is the real you, you have to prove it.
You go through the IRS process of identifying yourself and after a few months you are good to file again, except now you have to use a special PIN. Due to your social security number (SSN) being compromised, you can no longer use it to file.
Probably everyone reading this has been the victim of some level of identity theft. Whether it is credit card skimming or tax refund fraud, with very little information someone can take your identity. Depending on the level, the fixes can be arduous. Prevention is easier. File your taxes early. Monitor your credit scores and your accounts. You can increase the security on credit card accounts, opting for notifications when someone accesses your account. Be mindful of how and when you use your credit card, but these are financial issues. If your SSN has been compromised, you may also be applying for jobs that you are not aware.
A lot of systems are still set up to identify you through your SSN, one of those being employment. Not only can your, now compromised, SSN be used to get tax refunds and buy merchandise, it can also be used by someone to apply for a job. If you’re not collecting social security you may not know your identity has been stolen is this manner. This type of SSN fraud is more prevalent with illegal aliens who use their own name but a stolen SSN. It is estimated by several sources that over seventy-five percent of illegal aliens use fraudulent SSNs to obtain employment.
EVerify is an Internet based system that compares an employee’s personal data with data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. Basically, is the employee legally within the U.S. and is the information provided not being used fraudulently. EVerify is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). USCIS have created, within the EVerify system, a new service called myEVerify. myEVerify allows the user to monitor the use of their social security number within the EVerify system. EVerify is used by employers…myEVerify is used by workers.
Not having afforded myself this level of SSN protection, I decided to take it for a spin. The process took about five minutes and wasn’t that painful. In addition to the normal web account setup process, you must also go through a series of identification questions. An added level of identification verification is an “identification quiz” that further confirms your identity. One can tell from the questions asked that the personal identifiers provided in the account setup process are checked against financial and public databases to generate the questions. This is all done to ensure that the person setting up the account is, in fact, you. A side benefit of establishing the account is verification that you are approved to work within the U.S. At least, you should get this verification. Once your account is created you can perform self-checks to see if your SSN has been used for employment, check the status of any EVerify cases you may have, and lock your SSN.
Locking your SSN
Locking your SSN basically freezes your SSN so that someone else cannot use it for employment purposes. If you wish to lock your SSN, login into your account and click on Self Lock. You will go through a level of identification and security questions before the process is complete. Again, all to ensure that you are the one performing the action.
Locking your SSN also locks you out. If you will be seeking employment after you lock your SSN you will have to login to your account and unlock the SSN. As with the locking process, unlocking will require you to go through a series of security features. Each step of the above processes seemed to be followed by confirmation and notification emails.
Criminals will make use of what they are offered. Be it a credit card number, your name and address, your birthday, or all of your personal data. Locking your SSN from being used in the EVerify system is yet another action you can take to attempt to protect yourself from identity theft.
The myEVerify site can be found through this link.
Checkout our blog archive for other posts relating to identity theft:
Taking your identity on vacation-June 2013