Be on Alert for Phony Drivers Licenses

background screening, employee credit checkWhat if that new employee you just hired is not who he or she said she was? Or if a long-term employee is found to be an imposter? Every day, all across the country, employees are hired with fake drivers licenses. In some cases, employers knowingly hire illegal immigrants or other individuals with phony identification, but in most cases, the employer doesn’t know until something bad happens.

Employers are required to complete a federal form (the I-9 form) and obtain two types of identification from new employees. Most often, they receive a drivers license and Social Security Card. Employers can call the Social Security Administration to verify a Social Security Number, but will only be told whether the card is valid and the name and SSN match. There is no way for an employer to know if the card or identity is stolen.

Some employees are using phony drivers licenses or other identification to establish identity for a new job. Fake IDs are a big business. Dozens of online sources brag that they can help you establish a new identity, with a “real government-issued ID under another identity.” And the news is full of state Department of Motor Vehicle employees being arrested for providing licenses to ineligible citizens.

Employers can partner with local police to learn how to spot fake identification, and about the latest trends in ID forgery.

Fake identification is a real problem. But increasingly, criminals and others with something to hide are obtaining real drivers licenses with fake names.

In Minnesota, the Homeland Security Department is investigating 10,000 cases of possible fraud. 18 people were recently arrested and several have been indicted. One woman with a legitimate drivers license under a false name obtained a U.S. passport as well. She also once worked for the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, again under the false name.

When Homeland Security gets involved, you know it’s serious. Hopefully, federal and state government agencies will help employers safeguard against individuals who apply for jobs using real, state-issued identification. They could be hiding criminal records, or other incidents in their pasts that expose employers to liability and potential danger.

When hiring new employees, it’s imperative to conduct a thorough background check, credit check and employment verification through a trusted pre-employment screening service. Be alert, learn what to look for in phony identification, and always verify an applicant’s information.

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