If you recall I blogged about the government’s crackdown on employers hiring illegal immigrants and how identity theft and the fake document industry is booming in some places as a result. Today’s Wall Street Journal article, How To Make Identity Theft Worse, IRS Audit Launches Emerita de Jesus into Fight To Get Her Name Back, shows the problems of the system both for consumers and businesses.
According to the article:
About eight million illegal immigrants are in the US work force. Lacking documents the workers traditionally used phony names and Social Security Numbers to gain employment. But in recent years, technology has made it increasingly difficult for counterfeit documents to pass muster. The use of an electronic system that checks a person’s work eligibility, e-Verify, is now mandatory for employers in several states, and President Bush signed an order recently making it obligatory for companies that do business with the government.
Coincidentally, there are new billboards for e-Verify around Atlanta that I happened to notice this week. A quick look at the e-Verify website describes the program as:
E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that allows employers to confirm the legal working status of new hires in seconds. With one click, E-Verify can match your new hire’s Social Security Number and other Form I-9 information.
E-Verify reduces unauthorized employment, minimizes verification-related discrimination, is quick and non-burdensome to employers, and protects civil liberties and employee privacy.
Do you see how this system is flawed? e-Verify only determines the work eligibility of a SSN. It is lacking a way to determine that the applicant or employee is the rightful owner of the SSN being used.
An easy way for employers to overcome this and protect themselves while still following the antidiscrimination laws and protecting consumer privacy is to ask their job applicants or employees a set of knowledge based authentication (KBA) questions. Even though KBA is used mostly in consumer-not-present situations, it is also beneficial for in-person situations such as this.
Believe me, KBA is quick and easy and costs less than conducting full background checks on labor workers – and a lot less than the $232,100 the House of Raeford paid Emerita de Jesus for negligent damages.