As Congress delved into Facebook’s “scraping” of users’ personal information last week, illegal aliens are using stolen identities to loot Americans and the government.
- In California, an illegal alien fraudulently collected $360,000 benefits using a series of assumed aliases.
- In Florida, a four-time deportee pleaded guilty to “aggravated identity theft” in using false documents to evade immigration authorities.
- In Wisconsin, one illegal raked in $1,058,827 in tax refunds using bogus Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs).
Not a week goes by without some major identity-theft case hitting the news. Commentator Victor Davis Hanson, who had his identity stolen, calls such thievery “the great unspoken twin of illegal immigration.”
Indeed, identity theft is one of the chief crimes committed by illegal aliens as they raid the U.S. Treasury and rip off taxpayers.
The Washington Times reported that 87 percent of online tax filings with an ITIN showed income associated with a Social Security number that could not possibly belong to the filer.
In 2017, the Internal Revenue Service identified some 1.3 million cases in which illegal aliens used illegitimate or inconsistent Social Security numbers to file tax returns.
Worse yet, Treasury investigators found that the IRS paid out $3.4 billion in tax refunds to known illegal aliens in 2015.
In light of the rampant fraud, tougher federal penalties for “aggravated identity theft” became available in 2004. Aggravated identity theft applies to various immigration offenses, including “false personation of citizenship,” as well as “theft of public money.”
That’s all well and good. But according to a Treasury Department examination of suspect federal tax returns from 2011 to 2016, not a single case was referred for prosecution. So the business of identity theft goes on with only token resistance.
One obvious fix is to get rid of the fraud-prone ITINs altogether. Citizens and legal residents don’t need them; they have Social Security numbers.
If jettisoning ITINs is not possible, or not enough, the IRS should at least be required to communicate with the Department of Homeland Security to check which Social Security numbers may have been used by illegal aliens. Current policy that bars the IRS from exchanging information with DHS is worse than nonsensical; it’s aiding and abetting criminal aliens to continue gaming the system.
The enormity of it all might make Mark Zuckerberg blush.