by Lil Tuttle

It’s doubtful college students have checked their Social Security record, but perhaps they should. An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) revealed that “39 million Americans have potentially had their Social Security numbers stolen by illegal aliens pursuing work in this country during the Obama administration.”

IRLI used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain records from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The FOIA records produced by SSA as a result of IRLI’s lawsuit have shown that, from 2012 to 2016, there were 39 million instances where names and Social Security numbers on W-2 tax forms did not match the corresponding Social Security records. Additionally, over $409 billion was added to the Earnings Suspense File (ESF), which holds uncredited wages that can’t be correctly matched to SSA’s database. From 1937 to 2005, $519 billion was reported to be sitting in the ESF. In tax year 2016, that number rose to over $1.5 trillion.

What did the Social Security Administration do about the 39 million mismatched names and Social Security numbers, and the $1.5 trillion uncredited wages? Nothing … in the last few years anyway.

For decades prior to the Obama administration, SSA sent a “no-match” notification to inform employers and their employees of the mismatch of name and number. That gave people the opportunity to get their records corrected and their wages and taxes properly credited to them.

However, “the Obama administration decided to discontinue the decades-old practice of ‘no-match’ letters within eight days after it implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty for illegal aliens.”

The termination of no-match letters has resulted in a thriving black market where illegal aliens can obtain the Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens in order to gain employment. The Social Security numbers of young children are especially sought by illegal aliens, as this theft is likely to go undetected for years. As children reach late teenage years and apply for credit for cars, student loans, and other needs, they may find that their credit has been compromised with mortgages, credit cards and criminal records attached to their identities.

Granted, some of the 39 million mismatches are likely due to unreported name changes or simple typographical errors. And some of the $1.5 trillion in the Earnings Suspense File may be caught and corrected through normal annual tax return filings.

Yet there is an equally good chance that some young Social Security number holders have had their identities stolen, and they don’t yet realize it.  The theft may be discovered when  the Trump administration reinstates the “no-match” notifications next spring.

If young people want to be sure their personal Social Security number is clean and correct, however, they can request a copy of their record from the Social Security Administration online here.