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How to verify someone's identity

In the United States, people are required to provide proof of their identity when they apply for a job, request credit at a store, apply for a credit card or open a bank account. Identity theft is a serious problem in the United States, so it is critical that the documents presented as proof of identity be verified as authentic. The most accurate way to verify someone's identity is to request and validate more than one form of identification: a driver's license, a Social Security card, a valid passport and military photograph identification are some forms of identification.

Request to see the person's driver's license and verify the validity of the driver's license through the state that issued the license. Make a photocopy of the license rather than merely writing the information down. Verifying a driver's license will confirm the name and address of the person who was issued the license. Some states will return the Social Security number associated with an individual's driver's license. Some states will provide free online verification for the person licensed to drive in that state. Employers and other interested persons may request a driving record for a fee. A driving record will include the name and address of the person for whom the record was produced.

Verify the validity of the person's Social Security number. Make a photocopy of the person's Social Security card to ensure that you have the correct number. Employers may verify an individual's Social Security numbers on the Social Security Administration's official website. The Social Security Administration will return a report that verifies the name and address associated with a number.

Examine the person's passport. The United States only issues a passport upon verification of identity, and once the U.S. Department of State is satisfied that a person has established his or her identity, a passport will be issued. Valid forms of identification include a valid driver's license, a birth certificate and military identification. Passports are valid for 10 years from the date they are issued.

Tip

Make copies of identification so that you have access to accurate information when conducting verification research. Double check information before taking any adverse action against an employee or job applicant whose identify information does not match the address on a job application. Give the employee an opportunity to correct errors, such as failing to report a change of address to their state division of driver's licensing.

Warning

Treat all personal information with care. Do not publish or otherwise disclose a person's personal identification information. Never disclose Social Security numbers or driver's license numbers to unauthorised persons and keep personal information secure.

Things You'll Need

  • Photocopier or scanner
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About the Author

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.