Some people use a made up number, some others actually buy the SS card of somebody else to whom was legally issued to, and some others secure a legal SSN fraudulently via a fake birth certificate.
A 54-year-old homemaker owns one house. Imagine her shock when she was told that her Social Security number had been used to buy two houses in Ohio and one in Texas. The four combined mortgages totaled more than $500,000. Then there were the 9 car loans totaling more than $200,000. And 10 additional credit lines from various department stores and wireless service providers. An investigation by the Social Security Administration revealed that an illegal immigrant was using her Social Security number as a means to enjoy his slice of the American dream. And like most folks in this country, he was using credit to do it.
There are an estimated 9 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. In order to work and obtain credit, they need Social Security numbers — something they cannot obtain legitimately because of their illegal immigrant status. But a fake number isn't hard to get. There's a very good black market that has fostered this. You can buy a Social Security card on the street for $20. Fake cards are produced and sold by organized crime groups, which generate Social Security numbers and sell them to illegal immigrants with their own names on the card. The numbers, however, often belong to real people.
The result can be a bizarre form of identity theft. Traditional theft typically involves a person stealing someone's name and identification and then racking up huge debts under that name. But with Social Security-number-only theft, oftentimes abusers have no intent of stealing anybody's good credit. They simply want the number so they can work and establish their own lines of credit — in their own name. In essence, two separate identities are created from one Social Security number. Even in above-mentioned case, where there were a suspiciously large number of loans, the perpetrator had kept current on most of his payments, although the victim says he's under criminal investigation for other activities.