Social Security Number Fraud

How big of a deal is it if you use someone elses’ Social Security Number?  

You only have one Social Security Number (SSN) and it should only be associated with you. The SSN is assigned by the Social Security Administration and is only assigned to one person-you.

So how does an employer know if it is yours?

During the application process, a job candidate fills out an application and a background check should be conducted as part of the pre-employment screening process.  At such point, the SSN can be traced through Credit Bureau header information as to whom the SSN belongs. In addition, a list of addresses and former or alias names can be derived from the header of a Credit Report.  (This is not the same as pulling a credit report and the individual’s credit history is not released as a part of this SSN trace).

An employer should compare the SSN provided on the application with the name and addresses that are returned on the Credit Report header.  If the names or addresses do not match, the person may be using a false, fraudulent or stolen SSN.  

So how does ProviderTrust add value upon commencement of monitoring?

At ProviderTrust we conduct a SSN Death Master Index search to determine if the SSN belongs to a person reported to the Social Security Administration as deceased. in 99%+ of the time, the SSN does not match a deceased individual’s SSN.  However, we are seeing a trend in the long term care industry of a higher percentage of SSN that are associated with a deceased person.   

Social Security Numbers are used by the HHS excluded parties list in order to verify if the person you are employing is listed on the OIG exclusion list.  If your health care employee is committing Social Security fraud, an OIG exclusion will not be matched.

What does it mean if a SSN matches a number on the SSN Death Master Index?

It means that the person whom we are monitoring is using a SSN that is associated with a deceased person and is fraud.   Sometimes it is the result of a data entry error or an inadvertent switching of a number in numerical order.  Other times, the individual has been given  a Social Security Card from his/her parent or family member and does not know it was fabricated or false.  Other times, it is an overt attempt to pass them self off as another person. 

In any of these cases, the lessons an employer needs to know are:

1. A SSN is only assigned to one person

2.     Look closely at the SSN card presented during the application process for signs of fraud

3.     If the SSN does not match, be sure to double check that the correct number was entered

4.     Look for inadvertent switching of a number in sequence 

5.     If a match is returned by the Death Master Index, call the employee/applicant in and ask them to explain.  If they do not show up to challenge your findings, you may have the answer you were looking for.

Have you experienced any fraud with Social Security Numbers in your health care hiring or monitoring?  What was your experience when you asked the applicant or employee to explain?

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