Identity Theft

Attention refugee employment staff! There have recently been incidents regarding identify theft and refugees. Individuals from within and outside of the refugee community have convinced refugees to provide their social security number (SSN) and have used this information to file fraudulent tax claims.

Please let all your clients know that they should protect their social security number, alien number, and any other personal identifying information (PII). If a client reports that they suspect their identity has been stolen, please assist them in filing a report at

Include this topic in your financial literacy/job readiness curriculum:  Along with teaching clients about financial literacy and taxes, protecting PII and preventing identify theft are topics that can be easily covered in class. Here is a sample of what could be covered in a lesson:

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone uses your social security number or other personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund. You might get a notice from the IRS or find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report. You might notice strange withdrawals from your bank account, get bills that aren’t yours, or get calls about debts that you don’t owe.

How to Prevent Identify Theft

Secure your financial documents and records in a safe place at home and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your personal information secure from roommates or apartment maintenance staff that comes into your home.

Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your social security card at home. Make a copy and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you.

Protecting Your Social Security Number (SSN) and other personal identifying information (PII)

Keep a close hold on your social security number and other PII.  Ask questions before deciding to share any information. Ask if you can use a different kind of identification. If someone asks you to share your SSN or your child’s SSN, ask them why they need it and how it will be used? The decision to share your personal information is your own.

What to Do if You Think You are a Victim of Identify Theft

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, act quickly. Here are 5 steps you can take to limit the damage:

  1. Call the companies where you know fraud occurred.
  2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and get copies of your report (for instructions on how to do so click here).
  3. Report identity theft to the
  4. File a report with your local police department.
  5. Most importantly, you should contact your case manager if you need help or clarification.

Please visit for more resources.

Has identity theft or tax fraud every happened to a client of yours? If yes, please write us at to share your experience and how you helped your client resolve the issue.

5 Ways to Check for Understanding

yes yes yes

How many times have you heard this from clients when they don’t even understand the question?

Assertive communication is a critical soft skill in the U.S. workplace. Many clients don’t understand this U.S. cultural assumption or may even value conflicting behaviors related to saving face or agreeing with authority figures.

Especially during new hire orientation and training, asking questions is expected. It’s important to reinforce this  new skill before client job retention depends on it.

You may talk about the importance of asking questions in your job readiness activities. But, sometimes it’s hard to be sure clients really get new information in class or individual meetings.

Click here for a list of 53 techniques to check for understanding and help reinforce client ability to utilize this important U.S. workplace skill.

Here are five examples that could help client retain information, practice assertive communication and build their English skills, too.

1. Red, Yellow, Green

Provide color cards in your job readiness class or in your office for individual meetings.  (Use construction paper or write the words in colored ink.) Explain that clients can hold up the cards whenever they aren’t sure or don’t understand.  You can prompt them to use the cards to check understanding in class.  When they understand how that works, you can have the cards available elsewhere in your offices to help them communicate. This could even help with front desk communications.

2.  3-2-1

When you want to check understanding of a topic, assign clients to tell you 3 things they learned, 2 things that were interesting and 1 question they still have.  They can answer together in a classroom setting or you can assign the task as homework for higher skilled clients and check their answers in your next one-on-one meeting.

3.  Sketch

Ask clients to draw a picture of new information.  No English required. For example, ask for drawings of “good” and “bad” appearance in a job interview.

4.  5 Words

Ask clients, “what are five words you learned?”  Using this question in a classroom setting could be a great way to blend an audience with different English skills and help everyone improve their vocabulary.

5.  1 Word

pick one new word you learned and (write or tell) what it means.  Assigning clients with stronger English skills Higher’s How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions eLearning course? This technique would be a great way to check to see if they completed the assignment.