U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas todayannounced an enhancement to the E-Verify program that will help combat identity fraud by identifying and deterring fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) for employment eligibility verification.

This enhancement provides a critical safeguard to the E-Verify system by detecting and preventing potential fraudulent use of SSNs to gain work authorization. An employer, for example, may enter information into E-Verify that appears valid – such as a matching name, date of birth, and SSN – but was in fact stolen, borrowed or purchased from another individual. This new safeguard now enables USCIS to lock a SSN that appears to have been misused, protecting it from further potential misuse in E-Verify.

“We are committed to strengthening E-Verify’s ability to combat identity fraud,” said Director Mayorkas. “This new enhancement provides yet another significant safeguard for E-Verify users and could assist employees who have had their Social Security numbers stolen or compromised.”

The new enhancement strengthens the E-Verify program by implementing standards that have proven effective in protecting individual identity. Just like a credit card company will lock a card that appears to have been stolen, USCIS may now lock SSNs in E-Verify that appear to have been used fraudulently. USCIS will use a combination of algorithms, detection reports and analysis to identify patterns of fraudulent SSN use and then lock the number in E-Verify. This will help deter and prevent fraudulent use of SSNs in the E-Verify system.

If an employee attempts to use a locked SSN, E-Verify will generate a “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC). The employee receiving the TNC will have the opportunity to contest the finding at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office. If an SSA field officer confirms the employee’s identity correctly matches the SSN, the TNC will be converted to “Employment Authorized” status in E-Verify. Employees who successfully confirm their identities are encouraged to call USCIS so they can learn more about available resources on identity theft and fraud prevention.