Identity Theft report released Tuesday stated the IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants.
Identity theft and illegal immigration seem to run hand in hand. Illegal immigration and the associated crime came to the front this election cycle. As Donald Trump rallied the country with his call to build a wall to stem the tide of criminal illegal aliens from entering the united states. A major factor in identity theft (and the US economy in general) is illegal immigration. Nobody wants to talk about it, because of the political aspects. Such policy discussions have continued to fester and the link between illegal immigration and identity theft is very real, especially since the odds of going to jail for identity theft are less than 1-in-1,000. Laws have been put in place to punish identity thieves. But the arrest rate is low – one-in-twenty reported cases. The conviction rate is even lower, one-in-fifty. Although arrests and conviction rates are improving, the point here is that the odds are in the identity thief’s favor that they will not pay for their crime.
“It is stunning that the IRS has chosen to aid and abet identity thieves for so long instead of protecting the innocent victims of the theft,” said Sen. Daniel Coats, Indiana Republican.
In fact, looking over the past decade, the government seems to be encouraging identity theft among illegal immigrants. A report released Tuesday stated the IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants. But officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency’s inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday. The problem was identified five years ago by investigators, but the inspector general says it’s yet to be resolved. The report alarmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who were shocked that the IRS had gone for so long without fixing the issue. As a result of these stolen social security numbers, employers that are bound by law to verify that information for employment come under fire. The employee can work while the company waits for the response, even if they are using a stolen social security number. Another threat is synthetic identity theft. Where the criminal just makes up a SSN and uses it without being verified. Hopefully that SSN is not yours. By the time the IRS catches on, the damage is already done. Most taxpayers don’t learn that their identities have been stolen or their Social Security files are screwed up. In fact, it’s against the Internal Revenue code for the SSA to notify you that someone else is using your number.
“Taxpayers identified as victims of employment-related identity theft are not notified,” the IRS inspector general said.
Various law enforcement agencies use the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act to fight illegal aliens using stolen social security numbers. That helped slow down identity theft between 2005 and 2008. But that changed in the spring of 2009. The US Supreme Court ruled that an illegal immigrant has not committed a crime unless he/she knew the stolen social security number they used belonged to a US citizen. In other words, saying “I didn’t know.” can be a defense if you work in the US illegally. While the Department of Homeland Security insists on accuracy in financial records the IRS and SSA are taking cash from whoever sends it in. Congress is making laws to protect us, but the Supreme Court tells us those laws don’t apply to the people breaking them. Makes you think when trying to buy a home or a car, when the loan company can’t tell us why they are denying the loan.
After the US Supreme Court ruling on 2009, hundreds of previous convictions were appealed, and social security fraud has been on a steady rise. US citizens are vulnerable without a working system and the governments catch and release policies. There are companies like Life Lock, Protect my ID, and Trusted ID, that provide security for your identity. But how well do they protect you? This is a question many of us ask when faced with the thought of identity theft. Thankfully there are companies and websites out there that help you make an educated decision. Sites like Identity-theft.org, and Identitytheft.news provide unbiased reviews and current identity theft trends to keep you informed and protected. We are all at risk, and with 15.4 million reported cases of identity theft, and a total of over $16 billion stolen last year, it’s in our best interest to be protected. Don’t be fooled, it CAN happen to you.