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New E-Verify Safeguard: USCIS Can Now Lock SSNs

On November 18, 2013, USCIS announced a new safeguard to protect against identity fraud in E-Verify. Taking a cue from successful safeguards established in the credit card industry, E-Verify can now lock social security numbers (SSNs) that appear to have been fraudulently used. Like credit cards, fraudulent use of SSNs often occurs when an SSN was stolen, borrowed, or purchased from another individual; if an SSN is misused, it is possible that the same SSN will be misused again. By locking an SSN, USCIS can protect against further potential misuse within the E-Verify system.

USCIS states that E-Verify will use a combination of algorithms, detection reports, and analysis to identify patterns of fraudulent SSN use. Thus far, USCIS has not provided any more details on the standard, procedures, and methods it will use in its determination to lock an SSN.


If a previously locked SSN is entered into E-Verify, a Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC) will be generated. Just like with any TNC, the employee will be given 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 convert to “Employment Authorized” status in E-Verify.

For more information please refer to the USCIS press release “New Security Enhancement Helps E-Verify Deter Employee Fraud“.

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