Reuters.com reports that a recent crackdown in immigration has led to a rise in identity theft cases. Because employers are double-checking workers, the demand for stolen identification has risen dramatically.
Illegal immigrants are stealing legitimate working papers from victims. Stricter immigration enforcement, along with tighter national security, has made it almost impossible for undocumented workers to use for employment their real names in combination with a fake or stolen Social Security number. Yet they are desperate to get jobs. Otherwise law abiding people are thus forced into committing identity theft to make a living — and the victims arenâ€™t happy about it.
Identity theft as a result of immigration crackdowns is especially prevalent in states bordering Mexico. Employers in states such as Arizona and California are using E-Verify to ensure their workers are legal. But because E-Verify flags names and Social Security numbers that do not match, would-be workers have to resort to steal a complete identity in order to work.
Law enforcement officials are working hard to round up the thieves. In March, county sheriffs in Arizona arrested more than two dozen people involved in identity theft.
Immigration reform will be a necessary part of cleaning up the problem. But until then potential victims should keep their eyes open for fraudulent activity.