Multiple identities

Pity Audra Schmierer. The Merc reports that over 81 people are using her Social Security number since her identity was stolen a few years ago. Most are probably illegal immigrants applying for work.

The penalties for companies that accept those bogus Social Security numbers sound pretty mild.

Under current law, if the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service finds multiple people using the same Social Security number, the agencies send letters informing employers of possible errors.

The IRS can fine employers $50 for each inaccurate number filed, a punishment that companies often dismiss as just another cost of doing business.

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