USCIS Announces New E-Verify Security Enhancement

By Jon Feere on November 25, 2013

The free and easy-to-use employment verification program E-Verify has been upgraded with a security feature that will help U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) detect whether a Social Security number (SSN) is being used fraudulently. All too often, American citizens will have their identities compromised by an illegal alien who steals the name and identity of the American in order to acquire a job. If the name and number match up, it can be difficult for E-Verify to detect the fraud.

The new feature will use a number of new algorithms to determine whether a number is being used fraudulently and temporarily shut down use of that Social Security number for employment purposes, allowing the rightful owner to come forward. Often, a citizen will not be aware that a dozen illegal aliens are using his or her SSN until long after the damage has been done. Americans can find themselves owing back taxes for a job they never held or having difficulty acquiring Social Security benefits, for example. E-Verify is helpful in that it can help detect fraud earlier. With the new enhancements, E-Verify should uncover more fraud, more quickly. USCIS explains:

Just like a credit card company will lock a card that appears to have been stolen, USCIS may now lock SSNs in E-Verify that appear to have been used fraudulently. USCIS will use a combination of algorithms, detection reports, and analysis to identify patterns of fraudulent SSN use and then lock the number in E-Verify. This will help deter and prevent fraudulent use of SSNs in the E-Verify system.

If an employee attempts to use a locked SSN, E-Verify will generate a "Tentative Nonconfirmation" (TNC). The employee receiving the TNC will have the opportunity to contest the finding at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office. If an SSA field officer confirms the employee's identity correctly matches the SSN, the TNC will be converted to "Employment Authorized" status in E-Verify. Employees who successfully confirm their identities are encouraged to call USCIS so they can learn more about available resources on identity theft and fraud prevention.

Among other things, the algorithms will presumably detect whether an SSN is being used for new jobs in a variety of locations across the country in a short period of time — a situation that might be expected if multiple illegal aliens are sharing the number.

Over 470,000 employers are using E-Verify at more than 1.4 million hiring sites. This represents a doubling of enrollment since January 2009. In fiscal year 2013, E-Verify was used to authorize workers more than 25 million times, representing a nearly 20 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Approximately 1,500 new employers enroll each week, according to USCIS.

If E-Verify were mandated nationwide, not only would it put an end to much fraud, it would also free up millions of jobs for legal residents since approximately seven to eight million illegal aliens currently are holding jobs.

Topics: E-Verify