Illegal Immigration Tied To Identity Theft Cases
Julie Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that such thefts are among the agency's highest priorities and an illustration that illegal immigration may be a driving force behind the nationwide growth in identity theft cases.
• An estimated 8.3 million Americans fell victims to some form of identity theft in 2005, according to an FTC survey last year.
• An investigation by MSNBC in 2005 found that a Social Security number from suburban Chicago had been used by illegal immigrants to get jobs at 37 businesses. "People need to wake up to this problem," Richard Hamp, an assistant attorney general in Utah, told MSNBC.com. "They are destroying people's credit, Social Security benefits and everything else. This problem has been ignored by the federal government, and it's enormous."
• Each year, millions in payroll tax deductions end up in a special catch-all account because of mismatched names and Social Security numbers. The size of the fund, which also includes errors because of misspellings and things such as married women who are paid under their maiden names, apparently began to skyrocket in 1986, when a new federal law required workers to produce Social Security cards to get employment.