Information from the website reports a new version of identity theft called synthetic ID theft, is a new twist on an old scam. According to their website, “…a thief steals pieces of information from different people to create a new identity. For example, the thief may steal one person’s social security number, combine it with another person’s name and use someone else’s address to create a brand new identity.” Previously, a thief would simply steal one person’s information and use it to create a new identity. This makes it more important than ever for employers to use a background check company to investigate potential new hires.


Pre-employment screening and employee background checks on job candidates can uncover any number of issues a candidate may be trying to screen from an employer. A background check company uses investigators to search out discrepancies in a job applicant’s resume or application.  People will hide information about their driving records, level of education, military service (and discharge status), criminal records and as mentioned above, even their true identity.


I would like to focus attention in this article on the identity verification concern for new hires.  Several problems arise when we discuss the issue of identity. If you don’t know who the person is who you have hired, what are you putting at risk in your business? Are you endangering your employees or customers? Are you hiring a person who will steal from you? Do they have a criminal background they are hiding? Another issue is whether or not the individual is even eligible to work in the U.S. If they are not, and you hire them YOU could face fines and penalties from the government.


 According to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) website, “employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired after November 6, 1986. Failing to comply with I-9 requirements can cost an employer up to $1,100 for each form not in compliance. In addition, hiring or continuing to employ a person with the knowledge that the person is not authorized to work in the U.S. can result in a penalty of up to $3,200 for the first offense for each worker and for a third offense the penalty can carry a $16,000 penalty for each worker.” What if a new applicant is actually trying to gain employment with you while using a stolen or fake identity? The possibility of incurring these kinds of penalties should be enough to motivate any employer to ensure thorough employee background checks are completed on all applicants.


Employee background checks can include a social security number trace to determine previous addresses, identity and validity. An employment application will contain prior job locations. If someone indicates on the application they worked for such and such a business, located in one area, but the social security number trace shows the applicant never lived in that area, it will be apparent that the applicant has been less than honest in some fashion.


Hopefully the information from the government that I have provided to this point is enough to get you to seriously consider the advantages of hiring a background check company. If however you are still skeptical let me give you one more interesting tidbit from another government website  (page 2 last paragraph) answering a question regarding whether an employer should have to conclude an applicant is not authorized to work when a Social Security Number doesn’t match the SSA’s records, their response is “Not necessarily”. They point out that a mismatch between a name and SSA records could be due to a number of reasons including unreported name changes, typing errors, hyphenated names and even identity theft. They say that a mismatch by itself should not be used as the reason for taking any adverse employment action against any employee. The question then becomes should you do something and risk getting in trouble with the Justice Department or do nothing and risk getting in trouble with the USCIS?


A background check company can help you avoid the pitfalls that could lead to unnecessary audits and fines from the government. Pre-employment screening by a trusted source can save you a lot of hiring headaches and give you the confidence that you are hiring the right people for your team.


Pre-employment screening is important and we can help you with it.  Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.