On Monday, November 18, 2013, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced the release of a new E-Verify enhancement designed to combat identity fraud. The enhancement is designed to detect and prevent the fraudulent use of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to gain work authorization by enabling USCIS to lock an SSN within the E-Verify system if it appears to be misused. Once the SSN is locked, E-Verify will generate a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC), and the employee receiving this TNC will have to contest the finding at the local Social Security Administration field office. Once a Social Security field officer confirms the employee’s identity and matches the SSN, the TNC will be changed to “Employment Authorized” status in E-Verify.
While this solution seems like a reasonable fix for one of the glaring deficiencies in E-Verify, it could also pose significant problems for the true owners of the Social Security Numbers that get locked. As anyone who has been a victim of identity theft and all it entails knows, there is no quick resolution to an identity theft problem, especially when the Social Security Administration is involved. When encountering this situation, employers must be vigilant and remember that no adverse employment action may be taken against an employee while a Tentative Non-Confirmation remains unresolved.