Social Security Scam
Hank Investigates: Social Security Scam
This nine-digit number is the key to employment. Basically you canít get a job in the U.S. without one. But now these numbers are becoming more and more public -- linked to driversí licenses, checks and credit cards. As a result, this federal report reveals social security misuse has become a national dilemma and has soared to new heights. Last year, investigators got 92,847 allegations of abuse.
"How easy is it to get a fake social security card?"
Leo Sullivan, Special Agent, Office of the Inspector General
Replacement cards, for instance -- a hot item. The feds know some get dozens a year -- and many end up sold on the street. We also found this federal report listing other ways to apply for a legitimate card using false documents, create or purchase a counterfeit card or just take a number. This one used by an indicted airport worker -- we found linked to 89 other people.
"Whatís the extent of trafficking in fake numbers?"
The Internet and color printing, experts say are the key. As this government study admits, motivated individuals can counterfeit official documents with surprising accuracy."
"So you're saying itís easy to fake a card."
It is easy for employers to verify a social security number -- the government does it on-line, and free. Problem is officials admit -- if a number is stolen, even those checks wonít catch it.
"Why wouldnít the system catch that?"
Steve Richardson, Social Security Administration
The feds have battled fake numbers for years, most often they're used by those in the country illegally, who are trying to get a job. But after Sept 11, officials are specially vigilant. They now call such cards "breeder documents". They know having a social security number is the key to opening many doors.