History and Significance of the Social Security Number

The Privacy Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-579, in section 7), which is the primary law affecting the use of SSNs, requires that any federal agency that requests your Social Security Number has to tell you four things:

  1. the authority (whether granted by statute, or by executive order of the President) which authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;
  2. the principal purposes for which the information is intended to be used;
  3. the routine uses which may be made of the information, as published annually in the Federal Register, and
  4. the effects on you, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information.
The Act requires state and local agencies which request the SSN to inform the individual of only three things:
  1. whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary,
  2. by what statutory or other authority the SSN is solicited, and
  3. what uses will be made of the number.
In addition, that section makes it illegal for Federal, state, and local government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is required by Federal statute, or the disclosure is to an agency for use in a record system which required the SSN before 1975. ( 5 USC 552a note). So anytime you're dealing with a government institution and you're asked for your Social Security Number, look for a Privacy Act Statement. If there isn't one, complain and don't give your number. If the statement is present, read it. Once you've read the explanation of whether the number is optional or required, and what will be done with your number if you provide it, you'll be able to decide for yourself whether to fill in the number.

There are several kinds of governmental organizations (see the list in the Short History section) that usually have authority to request your number, but they are all required to provide the Privacy Act Statement described above. The only time you should be willing to give your number without reading that notice is when the organization you are dealing with is not a part of the government.

One weakness of the Priavcy Act is that it doesn't carry any penalties.

Social security number used by someone else Why to Resist Requests for Your SSN

When you give out your number, you are providing access to information about yourself. You're providing access to information that you don't have the ability or the legal right to correct or rebut. You provide access to data that is irrelevant to most transactions but that will occasionally trigger prejudice. Worst of all, since you provided the key, (and did so "voluntarily") all the information discovered under your number will be presumed to be true, about you, and relevant.

A major problem with the use of SSNs as identifiers is that it makes it hard to control access to personal information. Even assuming you want someone to be able to find out some things about you, there's no reason to believe that you want to make all records concerning yourself available. When multiple record systems are all keyed by the same identifier, and all are intended to be easily accessible to some users, it becomes difficult to allow someone access to some of the information about a person while restricting them to specific topics.

Unfortunately, far too many organizations assume that anyone who presents an SSN must be the owner. When more than one person uses the same number, it clouds up the records. If someone intended to hide their activities by using someone else's number, it's likely that it'll look bad on whichever record it shows up on. When it happens accidentally, it can be unexpected, embarrassing, or worse. How do you prove that you weren't the one using your number when the record was made?

Simson Garfinkel put it very well in an article for an "Inside Risks" column in Communications of the ACM in October, 1995. His article started with the paragraph

The problem with Social Security Numbers today is that some organizations are using these ubiquitous numbers for identification, others are using them for authentication, and still others are using them for both. Simson went on to explain how the two uses are incompatible. I recommend the article.

Social security number used by someone else What You Can Do to Protect Your Number

It's not a good idea to carry your SSN card with you (or other documents that contain your SSN). If you should lose your wallet or purse, your SSN would make it easier for a thief to apply for credit in your name or otherwise fraudulently use your number. Some states that normally use SSNs as the drivers license number will give you a different number if you ask. If your health insurance plan uses your SSN for an ID number, it's probably on your insurance card. If you are unable to get the insurance plan to change your number, you may want to photocopy your card with your SSN covered and carry the copy. You can then give a health care provider your number separately.

Here are some suggestions for negotiating with people who don't want to give you what you want. They work whether the problem has to do with SSNs (your number is added to a database without your consent, someone refuses to give you service without getting your number, etc.) or is any other problem with a clerk or bureaucrat who doesn't want to do things any way other than what works for 99% of the people they see. Start politely, explaining your position and expecting them to understand and cooperate. If that doesn't work, there are several more things to try:

  1. Talk to people higher up in the organization. This often works simply because the organization has a standard way of dealing with requests not to use the SSN, and the first person you deal with just hasn't been around long enough to know what it is.
  2. Enlist the aid of your employer. You have to decide whether talking to someone in personnel, and possibly trying to change corporate policy is going to get back to your supervisor and affect your job. The people in the personnel and benefits departments often carry a lot of weight when dealing with health insurance companies.
  3. Threaten to complain to a consumer affairs bureau. Most newspapers can get a quick response. Ask for their "Action Line" or equivalent. If you're dealing with a local government agency, look in the state or local government section of the phone book under "consumer affairs." If it's a federal agency, your congressmember may be able to help.
  4. Insist that they document a corporate policy requiring the number. When someone can't find a written policy or doesn't want to push hard enough to get it, they'll often realize that they don't know what the policy is, and they've just been following tradition.
  5. Ask what they need it for and suggest alternatives. If you're talking to someone who has some independence, and they'd like to help, they will sometimes admit that they know the reason the company wants it, and you can satisfy that requirement a different way.
  6. Tell them you'll take your business elsewhere (and follow through if they don't cooperate.)
  7. If it's a case where you've gotten service already, but someone insists that you have to provide your number in order to have a continuing relationship, you can choose to ignore the request in hopes that they'll forget or find another solution before you get tired of the interruption.

Social security number used by someone else Is Someone Using Your Number?

There are two good places to look to find out if someone else is using your number: the Social Security Administration's (SSA) database, and your credit report. If anyone else used your number when applying for a job, their earnings will appear under your name in the SSA's files. If someone uses your SSN (or name and address) to apply for credit, it will show up in the files of the big three credit reporting agencies.

The Social Security Administration recommends that you request a copy of your file from them every few years to make sure that your records are correct (your income and "contributions" are being recorded for you, and no one else's are.) As a result of a recent court case, the SSA has agreed to accept corrections of errors when there isn't any contradictory evidence, SSA has records for the year before or after the error, and the claimed earnings are consistent with earlier and later wages. (San Jose Mercury News, 5/14, 1992 p 6A) Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 and ask for Form 7004, (Request for Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement.) The forms are available online on the SSA's website. You can also pick up a copy at any office of the SSA.

Information about the credit reporting agencies is available in the Junk Mail FAQ, and various other privacy-related resources.

Social security number used by someone else Short History

Social Security numbers were introduced by the Social Security Act of 1935. They were originally intended to be used only by the social security program. In 1943 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9397 which required federal agencies to use the number when creating new record-keeping systems. In 1961 the IRS began to use it as a taxpayer ID number. The Privacy Act of 1974 required authorization for government agencies to use SSNs in their data bases and required disclosures (detailed below) when government agencies request the number. Agencies which were already using SSN as an identifier before January 1, 1975 were allowed to continue using it. The Tax Reform Act of 1976 gave authority to state or local tax, welfare, driver's license, or motor vehicle registration authorities to use the number in order to establish identities. The Privacy Protection Study Commission of 1977 recommended that EO9397 be revoked after some agencies referred to it as their authorization to use SSNs. It hasn't been revoked, but no one seems to have made new uses of the SSN recently and cited EO9397 as their sole authority, either.

Several states use the SSN as a driver's license number, while others record it on applications and store it in their database. Some states that routinely use it on the license will make up another number if you insist. According to the terms of the Privacy Act, any that have a space for it on the application forms should have a disclosure notice. Many don't, and until someone takes them to court, they aren't likely to change.

If you have suggestions for improving this document please send them to me [email protected], or by sending snail mail to:

Chris Hibbert, 1195 Andre Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040


E-Verify 'flags' Obama's Social Security Number

Over the past few years, the E-Verify system has received national attention because of its ability to determine if prospective employees are illegal immigrants who have entered the United States without the legal authority to work.

By flagging fraudulent documents, including faked Social Security Numbers, the E-Verify system can assist an employer in the effort to make sure all prospective hires have authentic identification papers, including valid Social Security Numbers, issued to them and not to someone else.

Social security number used by someone else

Social security number used by someone else

Jordan told WND she is a wife, mother and homemaker. She described herself as “an average citizen with reasonable research skills.”

She said she became concerned when she realized that Congress was not willing to investigate issues concerning Obama’s identity, including whether or not he currently is using a fraudulent Social Security Number, and that federal law enforcement authorities also were doing nothing.

“Between October 2008 and May 2011, I submitted several requests to agencies and people with the legal responsibility and authority to investigate the use of forged documents and election fraud, concerning Obama’s birth records and Social Security Number,” she stated in her affidavit. “To date no one with the legal responsibility and authority has responded to any of these requests.”

Jordan told WND she finally decided to investigate Obama on her own initiative.

“I did my own research and I found allegations that Obama was using a fraudulent Social Security Number and that his birth certificate had been forged were more than credible,” she said. “Then I saw many brave people putting their reputations on the line to get the truth concerning Obama, including military officers like Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, and I decided I could no longer just sit back and watch.”

Jordan finally decided to take matters in her own hand.

“I considered myself to be one of the employers of the president of the United States,” she said, “so I decided to sign up for E-Verify and see if I could determine whether or not I could find out something about his true identity.”

In May 2010, WND reported two private investigators working independently were asking why President Obama was using a Social Security Number set aside for applicants in Connecticut while there is no record he ever had a mailing address in that state.

In addition, the records indicate the Social Security Number Barack Obama is using was issued between 1977 and 1979, yet Obama’s earliest employment reportedly was in 1975 at an ice cream shop in Hawaii.

E-Verify reports suspected fraud

As seen in Exhibit 1, after Jordan entered Obama’s Social Security Number into the E-Verify Self Check, the system indicated Obama’s Social Security Number produced a mismatch that warranted a visit to the Social Security Administration to investigate the discrepancy.

Social security number used by someone else

More detailed analysis of Exhibit 1 shows the checked reason for the mismatch notice was: “SSA record does not verify. Other reason. SSA found a discrepancy in the record.”

Exhibit 2 shows a Social Security Online page that indicates the response “SSA record does not verify, other reason” is to be interpreted as “Special indicator present,” with the reference to three E-Verify sections.

Social security number used by someone else

Further research revealed that the SSA adds “Special Indicator codes” to identify Social Security Numbers that individuals obtained fraudulently.

According to an audit report authored by the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, titled “Effectiveness of Special Indicator Codes on the Social Security Administrations Numident File,” dated August 2008, there were 9 special indicator codes as of November 2008:

  1. False Identity
  2. Noncitizen Not in Status
  3. Multiple SSNs with Different Identities
  4. Scrambled Earnings with New SSN Assigned
  5. SSN Obtained Using Fraudulent Documentation
  6. SSN Assignment Based on Harassment/Abuse/Life Endangerment
  7. Fictitious Identity
  8. Fraud – OIG Investigated
  9. Fraud SSN Misuse

“Eight of the Special Indicators have to do with fraud of some kind,” Jordan said. “It looks to me like the SSN Obama is using has been flagged with a Special Indicator suggesting fraud.”

WND’s phone call to the media office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security went unanswered.

Whose Social Security Number is Obama using?

Social security number used by someone else

Exhibit 3, SSA verification that the Obama’s Social Security Number (redacted above) was not issued to Obama

Yet, WND has independently verified that Obama is using the Social Security Number in question.

As seen in Exhibit 4, WND has further confirmed that Obama’s Social Security Number links to Obama in the online records maintained by the Selective Service system; inserting Obama’s Social Security Number into the online Selective Service search engine produces a valid Selective Service number identified with Obama.

Social security number used by someone else

Exhibit 4, Selective Service online search engine links Obama’s Social Security Number to his Selective Service number

On Aug. 30, 2011, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, granted summary judgment dismissing a federal lawsuit brought by Taitz, asking for FOIA disclosure of Obama’s Social Security information.

Taitz had alleged Obama was engaged in Social Security identity fraud, using a Social Security Number that had not been issued to him; Lamberth ruled that privacy restrictions prevented the Social Security Administration from releasing the requested files, despite the fact Obama is a public figure.

If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WND poll.


Two people use Holland woman’s Social Security number

Social security number used by someone else

Two people use Holland woman’s Social Security number

Social security number used by someone else

HOLLAND, Mich.— We need it to work to identify ourselves and even get loans. When it comes to our Social Security number, we expect it to stay secure. However, as some Americans find out from time to time that’s not always the case.

One Holland woman found out that some state and Social Security departments have access that can prove someone else was using her number, but they don’t alert you.

In this particular case, it wasn’t just one person using this woman’s Social Security number, but two. Beverly Zimmerman said she would have never found out if not by accident. She claims the same agency that she got the information from about someone using her Social is the one that didn’t tell her it was happening in the first place.

Heaps of paper is what Beverly and Don Zimmerman’s life looked like from 2010 to 2014, and they are afraid it’s about to happen all over again. An experience they are not excited to relive. Zimmerman said when it comes to her Social Security number it’s like a free for all. Claiming it was like a Russian roulette of who will use it next.

In 2007, Zimmerman was living in Arizona and had a Sears credit card opened in her name out of Fort Collins, Colorado. She had never been to Fort Collins, so she immediately reported it when she found out. Looking back, she said that was the first sign of an exhausting road ahead.

“I thought everything was taken care of. They wiped the debt, and that was that,” said Zimmerman.

From that point on Zimmerman was diligent about checking her credit. She carefully looked over her earnings report every year that she got from Social Security, and there were no red flags until she went to apply for disability in 2010. A denial came shortly after in the mail listing several reasons, including that she was able to hold several recent jobs, everything from a dry cleaning company to a flooring company. Once again, it was happening in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“Low and behold I am thinking that’s where I had that Sears card opened,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman called the IRS and Social Security more times than she cares to remember asking the same questions: Did they have any information about someone using her social security number in Colorado?

She said the response was always the same: that her earnings statement only showed her earnings and no one else was using her number to their knowledge. So after hitting dead end after dead end, Zimmerman got creative.

“So I decided I will call the IRS. I told them, ‘my name is Beverly Zimmerman,’ and, ‘this is my Social Security number,’ and, ‘do you have any W2’s there under the name Country Cleaners?’ I didn’t say, ‘is someone using my number.’ I didn’t say any of that; just asked for the W2’s since I had the name of one of the places of work that were listed in the disability denial,” said Zimmerman.

That’s when she finally got the answers she was looking for. The department not only gave her a list of work history from the woman using her social security number, but an address of her current place of employment.

“I called the Fort Collins Police Department,” said Zimmerman.

She took matters into her own hands and reported someone using her Social Security number to the local police. In the police report from Fort Collins Police the woman admitted to buying a Social Security number in Salinas, California in 1996 so she could work in the United States. That woman was arrested and taken to jail. She bonded out, and was let off with a misdemeanor and ordered to pay a small fine.

“She had to pay me restitution of $89. That’s for having my social security number for 19 years,” said Zimmerman.

It was shortly after this that Zimmerman received a letter from the state of Colorado trying to collect taxes from her.

“You call everybody and it falls on deaf ears. They could care less,” said Zimmerman.

Not only was she trying to explain the situation to the state of Colorado, but she was trying to get her disability case reopened at the same time. That’s when she enlisted the help of Arizona Senator John McCain to fight those allegations and avoid paying those taxes. Sen. McCain was able to obtain a new hire query document from the Social Security Department showing a list of all the places the woman had worked and used Beverly’s Social Security number to obtain employment.

Zimmerman’s case might not be unique, either. The Bureau of Justice estimates an annual financial loss of $17.3 billion in the US in 2007 because of identity theft. This was the same year a woman opened up a Sears credit card under Zimmerman’s name and Social Security number. Years later in 2014, Bureau of Justice said 17.6 million were the victims of identity theft. With numbers that high, one thing that still bothered Beverly and her husband was that if Social Security had this information, or was able to get access to it in any way through New Hire Queries, why didn’t anyone alert them?

“People will get their earnings statements and they will look at it and they will go everything is wonderful. No, it’s not wonderful you need to check,” said the Zimmermans.

FOX 17 reached out to Social Security Department several times. They opted to communicate through e-mail only. Through several exchanges, they directed us towards several different departments like Health and Human Services, who directed us right back to the Social Security Department. They eventually gave us some answers. They said they looked into our inquiry and found that there have been no earnings reported on Ms. Zimmerman’s Social Security since 2011.

Doug Ngyuen, the regional communications director of Social Security administration in the Chicago-region confirmed she had been receiving Social Security Disability benefits since January 2011.

“The Disability benefits were initially denied and finally approved at the hearings level for medical reasons, not because of her SSN issues. The last SSN Card was issued to Ms. Zimmerman in 1993, and we have no record that this number is being used by someone else,” wrote Ngyuen.

The problem is there was someone using her social security number, and the woman admitted she was using it after she was arrested. Social Security department went on to say the new hire queries were not under the control of the SSA, rather under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services.

FOX 17 confirmed with DHHS that they were not under control of that information and we would have to talk to the Social Security Department. The Social Security Department is where Zimmerman got the information when she asked about W2’s, and it is where Sen. McCain got the information that someone else was using her Social Security number as well.

Also, Ngyuen said new hire queries are based on a state by state level, and they use them on a very limited scope, like to collect information for disability.

Zimmerman thought since they had accessed these during her quest to apply for disability it should have raised a red flag for someone somewhere. It was this thought that kept bothering her so this past November (2016) she decided to check with Social Security for peace of mind, and was met with some unwelcome news. They told her she had earnings for 2014 and 2015. She explained she was collecting from the government and she is on disability, so that is incorrect.

Turns out, a man in Miami has used her Social Security number to work there. Once again, something she would have never known if she didn’t ask.

“The Social Security and IRS don’t think it’s their responsibility to notify citizens of this country when their numbers are being used by someone else,” said Zimmerman’s husband, Don.

FOX 17 asked the Social Security department why they don’t red flag things like this. In this instance, they said they never had any record of someone else using her Social Security number. They also wouldn’t comment on whether there is a system in place to red flag issues like this.

“The biggest thing that is going on right now in our opinions is that everybody in America needs to know about the new hire query. Social Security doesn’t just offer that information,” said Zimmerman.

The biggest question the Zimmermans still have is where does the money go that the government is collecting from the people who used her Social Security number to work? The department did not answer that question. The Zimmmermans claimed at one point in their hundreds of phone calls someone from the department said it goes into a “special” fund, but would not specify beyond that.

Social Security Department told Zimmerman that she could get a new number if she proved it had been misused, something the Zimmermans believe was proven throughout this whole process.

They said if there’s one takeaway from this whole experience is to call and keep tabs on new hire queries or W2’s under your name so you can make sure they are actually yours.

The Social Security department did give us this information to pass along. All these steps the Zimmermans took.

We encourage your viewers to open up their own personal my Social Security accounts which gives them secure and ready access to their lifetime earnings records and printable Social Security Statements. To correct their Social Security earnings record, they may contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

We cannot comment on the information contained in the New Hires queries which are input at the individual States’ level and serve a broader scope than Social Security disability claims. For example, below are two links from the State of Michigan’s Office of Child Support that explain this process:


social security number used by someone else

Social security number used by someone else

Records-Lookup.com allows you to look up records through an extremely large database of information. You will receive all results directly to your computer, or your door step. You will be able to look for information through many different public and private databases that 'Records-Lookup.com' has access to. Important to know: you are going to be using the same website that has been used by private investigators as well as detectives. You can simply conduct your search online and wait for the results to come to you. Super easy, extremely comfortable. Your criminal records report will be detailed and right in front of you.

  • If They Are Married, Divorced
  • Birth Date, Age & County
  • Addresses & Phone Numbers
  • If They've Ever Been Arrested
  • Ever Been Convicted Of a Crime
  • If Ever Been Incarcerated
  • If There Are Any Warrants
  • If There Are Any DUIs or DWIs
  • If They're Deceased & More
    • Complete Background Reports
    • List of Relatives & Neighbors
    • List of Aliases & Associates
    • Classmate & Friend Lookups
    • Reverse Phone Records
    • Property Ownership Details
    • Birth & Death Records
    • Marriage & Divorce Records
    • Reverse Address Records
    • Criminal Records & More
  • Trust your partner with the facts you find

    You will have the amazing opportunity to research anyone that you want to research. You will be able to do this from the comfort of your own home. You will be able to make some very informed decisions before you make any final commitments to individuals that you are not really sure about.

    Take some time and look up people based on their name, address, phone number, or even their social security numbers. Think about how nice that will be when you are in your own home and you can do this without anyone else knowing.

    Have you lost contact with someone that you really loved and cared about? Do you know that a loved one went missing years ago and you have no idea how to find out where they have been hiding other than to use their social security number? Well, you are in luck because you will be able to find out a lot of information by simply putting this number into our search box and waiting for the results.

    If you are doing a search with the persons last name as well as their social security number you will most likely be able to find information that can be used to find their current and previous address as well as any phone numbers that they might have or any warrants that they might have out for them as well.

    What is interesting about this site is that you can always use the information that you receive as a great place to start, even if you are not able to get the results that you are looking for the first time. For example, if you use the social security number, as well as the person’s last name and you find an address that is no longer current, you will be able to use that address as a place to start your next search.

    This is a great website and process because you will be able to use a number of different databases at one time. This saves you a great deal of time and energy when you are not really able to find what you are looking for as quickly as you would like to.

    Using a reverse SSN to research

    Most people are fully aware of the fact that you cannot simply contact the federal government and ask for someone’s social security number. However, if you have a social security number in your hand, and possibly a last name, and you are just not sure who it belongs to then you could do a reverse SSN lookup. This could be a good way to go if you think that you have been given an incorrect social security number or you think that the social security number you have been given is actually someone else’s. Finally, if you conduct a search like this you will be notified if the social security number belonged to someone who has passed away or if someone is using an alias.

    What you might discover with a reverse SSN search

    As previously mentioned, if you are going to conduct a search with a SSN and a last name you will be able to find out if it belongs to someone that has passed away. You will also be able to see if it is being used by someone with a different name that what you were given. Employers can always verify a SSN with the social security administration, which is a great resource for many employers who want to make sure that they are hiring legal workers. It will also help to verify that you are paying into benefits for the correct person when you do this.

    Another great thing about this type of a search is that you will be able to identify the individual’s address, phone number or even if they have a criminal record that you were not aware of. Once you have an address you will also be able to go to that location in order to find someone that you might not have seen in a really long time or to find someone that might have been missing. This could at least be a starting point for you in a new search.

    No matter what you need the information for, you will be saving a great deal of time and effort when you use this website because you will be utilizing a large number of databases at one time to complete your search.

    What you can find out with a SSN search

    When you complete the search there will most likely be some information that you can use at the top of the simple SSN report that you get. This will include things like the person’s address, phone number, and even their criminal records. All of this information can be a benefit if you are a private investigator and you need to know how to get a hold of the person. Bankruptcies and even any tax liens can be found within this header. This really is a great deal of information for you to utilize if you are simply starting a search.

    Why you might want to carry out a SSN search

    Understanding SSN records

    We use the records from our own databases. We do not use data directly from the SSA in any way.

    There are a lot of reasons why you would want to verify someone’s social security number. You might need to verify for tax purposes and reporting issues if you are an employer or you might have to confirm that the person you are going to hire is legal.

    Knowing how to verify SSN records

    Employer SSN validation service is available at this URL:

    http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm/ – NOTE: The service is a free but you will just be able to match the name with the SSN.

    What you may find when running a background check by SSN or by name


    social security number used by someone else

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    somebody used my social security number to call paypal

    somebody used my social security number to call paypal and get my balance and check my transaccion how can i diasble to only my phone number can be the only number autorizes to check my transaccion