Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"[T]hey don't care."

"People need to wake up to this problem," said Richard Hamp, an assistant attorney general for the state of Utah who has prosecuted several cases involving stolen IDs and illegal immigrants. "They are destroying people's credit, Social Security benefits, and everything else. This problem has been ignored by the federal government, and it's enormous." -- chart and quote, MSNBC

As the MSNBC article also explains, an illegal using your Social Security Number could also wreck your chance for a job or credit history . . . and you'll never know it until it's too late.

You'd think somebody would notify the person the SSN belongs that information on someone with a different name is being added to their file. But . . . nah. And good luck trying to get it straightened out and get your good name back. Lotsa luck.

From Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Tonight, our nation's elected officials are ignoring a widening identity theft crisis that threatens all U.S. citizens. Illegal aliens are stealing the identities of American citizens so they can remain and work in this country illegally. One northern California woman says her identity was stolen more than 200 times by illegal aliens. Casey Wian has her story.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Audra Schmierer has been a stay-at-home mom for six years. Now that her son is in school, she wants to return to work. So she applied to a temp agency.

AUDRA SCHMIERER, ID THEFT VICTIM: They called me three or for hours later and said, "Mrs. Schmierer, I don't understand why you're applying. You already work here."

WIAN: At a big tech company, a similar experience.

SCHMIERER: There's my driver's license, my passport, my Social Security card. I gave them everything. And she said, "Well, really, how can you actually prove you are you? What if those people have the same documentation you do?"

WIAN: Schmierer has discovered more than 200 illegal aliens throughout the United States are doing jobs Americans supposedly won't do by using her Social Security number. They work in fast-food chains, cosmetic companies, even receive dividends from Microsoft.

SCHMIERER: I started to gather all this information and really found out how extreme the situation was. It's scary.

WIAN: Her ordeal began last year with a bill from the IRS for nearly $16,000 in back taxes for a job in Texas. She lives in Dublin, California.

SCHMIERER: My husband was actually quite upset. He asked me when I had ever been to Texas.

WIAN: She tracked down the illegal alien whose phony tax return triggered the IRS bill. He told her he bought her Social Security number and a fake green card at this Texas flea market.

SCHMIERER: I don't under how illegal aliens can come across here and commit a felony -- identity theft is a felony -- and be excused from that felony to continue living their life when I cannot live my life.

WIAN: By January, Schmierer faced a $1 million IRS bill. She was temporarily detained by Customs, returning from a foreign business trip with her husband. And her Social Security account now shows a zero balance, erasing 14 years of work before her marriage.

SCHMIERER: Social Security right now sends me to IRS. IRS sends me to Social Security. Every now and then, they'll send me to the FTC, whom I have a case with.

No one wants to do anything about it. Right now, I have nowhere to go.

WIAN: Schmierer spends several hours a day trying to clear her name. The IRS has cancelled her bill, but Social Security won't give her a new number. She says all 35 employers she's contacted have refused to take action against the workers using her number.

SCHMIERER: It's cheap labor, and they don't care.

WIAN: Neither do most senators. John Ensign brought Schmierer's case to their attention, and they still approved Social Security benefits for illegal aliens using stolen identifies.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: The crime of identity theft and Social Security fraud are not victimless crimes. The victims of these crimes are American citizens and legal immigrants.


WIAN: And in this case, the victim is the granddaughter of a World War II veteran who emigrated legally to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration says it investigates reports of fraud but wouldn't say if it's investigating any of the cases related to Audra Schmierer. The IRS says it can't penalize employers who believe they are accepting legitimate Social Security numbers -- Lou.

DOBBS: Of course not. Not in the system that has been created by our elected officials.

Casey, we can only hope that every one of those senators who voted for amnesty so proudly are watching her story and your report here tonight. We thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Because Schmierer's Social Security records were such a mess, SSA finally broke down and issued her a new number. But look at that chart again and remember, hers is only one story.



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