Does it matter if you’ve used a fake name and a social security number before if you want a security clearance? The immediate response might seem to be yes. Identity theft is a serious problem. But this ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber used a fake ID and social security number to obtain employment and make ends meet when they were a teen. Now that they are an adult, they are worried that this scenario will come back to bite them.

Will they be denied if they fill out the SF-86 and apply for a Secret level security clearance?

Clearanceseeker1 writes:

“I used to work with a fake ID/SSN from the time I was 15 to 18 roughly 10 years ago, I couldn’t find a job and needed money, so I got a fake ID and got a job that way. I never used it again after. Will this keep me from getting a secret clearance?

I was never caught, and I did pass an eQIP 85 for a previous job.”

answering questions on social security while FILLING OUT THE SF-86

A background investigator on the thread responds, “It could keep you from a clearance if you did not report this information and it was discovered either during the investigation or later.”

The SF-86 questionnaire asks the “EVER” questions such as: have you EVER been convicted of a crime in a U.S. court, have you ever been ordered for mental health treatment or treatment for alcohol, ever engaged in acts of terrorism, ever used drugs while holding a security clearance, ever had financial problems for gambling, or ever supported foreign interests.

The form does not ask if you have committed a crime but never been caught – so answer the questions that are asked and use the comments wisely to elaborate on your answers.

If you ever seek out a position that requires a polygraph, eventually you will need to answer those questions honestly as well. The key is to answer the questions honestly.

And of course, be sure to use your real and given name going forward.


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” For this reason, we maintain – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site. This article is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation. 

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸