Detect False Identities: The Importance of Social Security Traces
Here is an interesting article that gives us, here at True Hire, an opportunity to highlight how important Social Security Traces are. This man (referred to as John Doe by the court) had several FBI background checks done on him, fingerprints taken, etc., and nothing was done about checking his Social Security number to see if it was valid and registered to him.
When doing criminal background checks, this only locates criminal records associated with the name. When fingerprints are taken, they are only used if a criminal record is found; the fingerprints are then compared with the fingerprints of the criminal case to assure identity. Nowhere does a criminal background verify that the Social Security Number is valid and that death benefits have not been issued. Had this government agency done a Social Security Trace back when Doe was hired, they would have discovered through the master death index, that this social security number belonged to a deceased person.
Man Accused of Taking Murdered Ohio Boy's Identity
May 4, 2010
Source: Associated Press
"Federal prosecutors have alleged that this man assumed the identity of a 3 year old Ohio boy who was kidnapped and murdered in 1982. The man (know as John Doe by the court) at the time was 17 and living in Colorado when he took the boy’s name in 1996.
Doe was hired in 2002 by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as an investigator; this is the same year that he submitted a passport application listing his occupation as law enforcement. A background check was conducted on him by the Oregon State Police, which turned up nothing to stop him from being hired. His fingerprints were sent to the FBI, he was run through the Law Enforcement System, and he passed. Commission executive director Steve Pharo said "We also had copies of his Social Security number and driver's license from him."
Doe was promoted to become a regional manager in Bend, Oregon, before asking to be reassigned to the Nyssa, Oregon office, which is close to his home of Caldwell, Idaho.
The case grew out of a routine check of a passport application against death records by a division of the US State Department. They discovered that the SSN Doe was using was a deceased person. Investigators were then able to start gathering information via Google searches that turned up news stories of the murdered boy. They later compared Doe’s 2002 passport application against an Ohio death certificate for the child.
The Social Security Administration found that the Social Security number used on the passport application had been obtained in Colorado in 1996, leading investigators to believe that Doe assumed the boy’s identity when Doe was 17. Doe is charged with providing false information in applying for a passport, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Doe will soon be transported by the US Marshal to Portland, Oregon."
If you are not currently doing Social Security Traces as part of your background check process, please call your True Hire representative for more information.
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