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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Too much access

Today's New York Times has an article about how social security numbers are being stolen. Not for gain, but illegal alien's use. I guess the Times finally got the memo.

Keeping one's SS# and identity from being stolen is about impossible. What was started for tax ID purposes, is now used for a myriad of reasons. Insurance, banking, education. The more people who have access to something that is supposed to be kept secret, the less likely it will stay secret. That's a rule or maxim of intelligence work. Unfortunately our government isn't very bright. If one wants to steal identies in Florida, go to almost any county clerk website and you can find thousands. Including my own.

Why companies don't check to match a SS#(or Credit card for another thing) to the person's name is beyond me. Incompetence rules in both the public and private sectors. Its the average citizen that pays for this bullshit.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Mark my Words, Bullwinkle Blog,

Camber Lybbert thought it was a mistake when her bank told her that her daughter’s Social Security number was on its files for two credit cards and two auto loans, with an outstanding balance of more than $25,000. Her daughter is 3 years old.

“From what I’ve picked up, he wasn’t using it maliciously,” said Ms. Lybbert, who lives in Draper, Utah. “He was using it to have a job, to get a car, provide for his family. My husband’s like, ‘Don’t you feel bad, you’ve ruined this guy’s life?’ But at the same time, he’s ruined the innocence of her Social Security number because when she goes to apply for loans, she’s going to have this history.”

Though most people think of identity theft as a financial crime, one of the most common forms involves illegal immigrants using fraudulent Social Security numbers to conduct their daily lives. With tacit acceptance from some employers and poor coordination among government agencies, this practice provides the backbone of some low-wage businesses and a boon to the Social Security trust fund. In the 1990’s, such mismatches accounted for around $20 billion in Social Security taxes paid.

“It’s clear that it is a different intent or purpose than trying to get someone’s MasterCard and charge it up, knowing they’re going to get the bill,” said Richard Hamp, an assistant attorney general in Utah. “But it has some similarities. It goes on the other person’s credit record. Illegals are filing for bankruptcy, using someone else’s number. I had one 78-year-old with three defaults on houses she never owned.”

The Federal Trade Commission, which estimates that 10 million Americans have their identities stolen each year, does not distinguish between people who steal Social Security numbers so they can work and those who are out to steal money. Illegal immigrants make up nearly one of every 20 workers in America, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center, and most are working under fraudulent Social Security numbers, which can be bought in any immigrant community or in Mexico.

In Caldwell, Idaho, a woman named Maria is just such a worker.

Maria, 51, came from Mexico City illegally six years ago and bought a counterfeit green card and Social Security card through a friend for $180. She earns $6.50 an hour, and like most of the seven million working illegal immigrants in the United States, she pays income tax and Social Security tax. She agreed to be interviewed on the condition that her last name not be used.

“We know we’ll never get it back,” Maria said of the Social Security payments. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a given.”

Like most victims of identity theft, the Lybberts did not lose any money in the long run, but Ms. Lybbert estimates that for four or five months she spent 30 hours or more a week making telephone calls, feeling passed from one agency or voice-mail system to another: the Social Security Administration, the state attorney general, the three bureaus that issue credit ratings and police departments in two cities.

“Everyone I talked to handed me off to someone else, saying that’s not our department, call this number,” she said. “I was being led in a circle.”

The Social Security Administration each year receives eight million to nine million earnings reports from the Internal Revenue Service filed under names that do not match the Social Security numbers. Some are from workers whose employers botched their personnel forms or from women who recently changed their names after marriage. Others are from people using a Social Security number that is not their own.

“It’s basically a subsidy from migrant workers to the aggregate of American taxpayers,” said Douglas S. Massey, a professor of sociology at Princeton who studies Mexican migration.

While no one knows how many of these mismatches are illegal immigrants, a Government Accountability Office study found that employers with the most mismatches were concentrated in industries that hire a lot of illegal immigrants, including agriculture, construction and food services.

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