DENVER (CBS4) – The state of Colorado is launching a fraud investigation after a teenager’s Social Security number was stolen and used to get jobs at four businesses.
Genesis, the 13-year-old girl, doesn’t have a job. When her mother Jennette Garcia recently sought Medicaid benefits for her family what she got was a shock.
“This time when I reapplied I got a denial in the mail stating that we were over income because Genesis was working,” said Garcia.
A letter from the state indicated Genesis earned more than $6,000 last year at a company called Custom Superfresh Poultry under the teen’s Social Security number.
CBS4 went to the company and were told they accept job applicants’ driver’s licenses and Social Security cards but do not verify their authenticity.
Garcia told CBS4 her daughter’s number was also being used at three other businesses.
“It’s your child. You want to protect your child at all costs. To know there’s somebody out there using my child’s Social Security number? Right now it’s employment, what’s next?” she said.
Cher Haavind with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment told CBS4 the law puts the burden on the applicant.
“Employers are not required to be experts in identity verification and authentication of documents,” Haavind said.
A link on the state’s website to what’s called E-Verify is required by law, but there’s no requirement for businesses to use it.
CBS4 learned the state Legislature has funded four auditors to check work documents.
“Is that enough to do the job?” CBS4′s Rick Sallinger asked Haavind.
“Well, there are over 100,000 employers in state, so mathematically? No,” she said.
Garcia contacted police who visited one of the people using her daughter’s number, but those people told her they would have to check with the district attorney before deciding whether they could make an arrest.