Why You Should Verify Your New Hire’s Name. Theft of a social security number can be used by a thief to secure a job. In other words, the person you hired is not who you think they are. How can you be sure? There are two Internet verification options you can use to verify that your employee names and Social Security numbers (SSN) match Social Security’s records. You can: Verify up to 10 names and SSNs (per screen) online and receive immediate results. This option is ideal to verify new hires. Or… you can upload overnight files of up to 250,000 names and SSNs and usually receive results the next government business day. This option is ideal if you want to verify an entire payroll database or if you hire a large number of workers at a time.
This service is available to employers and certain third-party agents. Realize that it can only be used to verify current or former employees and only for wage reporting (Form W-2) purposes. To use this service, you have to register for SSNVS and be approved. This is considered a service for businesses. An excellent resource to start this project is https://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnvs_handbk.htm. This handbook explains the why you should check and how to register to do this.
There is another choice. CBSV is a fee and consent-based Social Security number (SSN) verification service available to enrolled private companies and Federal, State and Local government agencies. It provides instant, automated verification and it easily handles large volume requests. Using CBSV, participating companies can verify the SSNs of their customers and clients. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required to enroll and become a CBSV user.
Lastly, the E-Verify service can be a help. E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is a free Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
A problem that may be surprising is finding out that a social security number belongs to a dead person. This is a common scam if the person is hiding from the law and using a wrong social security number to not be identified. The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) currently contains over 94 million records. The file is created from internal SSA records of deceased persons possessing social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the SSA. Often this was done in connection with filing for death benefits by a family member, an attorney, a mortuary, etc. Each update of the DMF includes corrections to old data as well as additional names.
Employers, schools, and hospitals are interested in verifying the numbers they are given to process a new hire, a new student, a new patient. If a real number is reported as belonging to a deceased person, many times the FBI will get involved. Not only can fraud occur on the job front but a credit record may be involved. Fun fact: at least one million active Social Security numbers belonging to people who are at least 112 years old. Really? No. That is an indication that the number is alive by the owner of the number is not and someone is posing as that person.
Evaluate if this is a pre-employment check that you should conduct at your company. You want your W-2s to be accurate. You want to know who is working at your company for safety and security reasons. Explore your options and a make your best decision.
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Jean is a certified senior-level human resources executive/consultant, adjunct professor, management trainer, professional speaker, career coach and author.