Stopping an Employment Thief

March 02, 2016

There are a number of ways an identity thief can use a stolen Social Security number (SSN). Most Americans have heard of an identity thieft opening a credit card account or getting a cell phone in the victim’s name but did you know that a thief could also try to get legitimate employment with a stolen SSN?  Finding yourself the victim of employment-related identity theft could cause problems such as: Being pursued by the Internal Revenue Service for payment of taxes on wages earned by the thief Being denied benefits (e.g. unemployment or Social Security benefits) because the deciding agency thinks you are employed or earn too much to qualify In an effort to stop this type of identity misuse, the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows SSN holders to use E-Verify—the system employers can use to verify an applicant’s employment eligibility--in a couple of helpful ways: Self Lock and Self Check. To make use of E-Verify, visit to create your “myE-Verify” account. Creating your online account will take 5-10 minutes to answer identity verification questions, setup the security questions and answers, and create your user login and unique password—one not used as a password on any other of your accounts. While you are not seeking employment you can activate the Self Lock feature to reduce the chance that someone would gain employment using your SSN. The USCIS website explains it like this: “If your locked SSN is entered in E-Verify to confirm employment authorization, it will result in an E-Verify mismatch, called a tentative non-confirmation.” This will be a red flag for the employer. Anyone with a SSN can use Self Lock. It doesn’t matter if you are in the workforce or not. When you are ready to seek employment, return to your myE-Verify account and unlock your SSN. USCIS also allows you to conduct a “Self Check” through the myE-Verify account so that you know your employment eligibility status and can correct any errors (if any are found) before you begin a new job hunt.