Birthplace, Birthdate, and SSN Assignations

socialsecurityI debated about posting this, but think I should for the greater good.  Knowledge is power.

Apparently, there are regional patterns of how Social Security Numbers are distributed by birth place and birth date.  Scientists, using publicly-available information, were able to accurately guess social security numbers of individuals simply by plugging in those three variables.  This means that as random as we may think our SSN’s are, they aren’t so random after all.

I was born in 1961, and had two younger brothers, one born in 1962 and one in 1963.  In those days, a social security number and card were not needed until later in life, but somewhere around my sixth birthday, my mother applied for SSN’s for all three of us.  Our numbers are actually in a sequence, with my middle brother’s number the lowest, and mine the highest, the first 8 numbers exactly the same with the last number being the only one different.  I always thought that was odd.  My children’s SSN’s are not even close to being similar in any way, despite the fact that they were born in the same hospital, in the same city.  I assumed at that time that the SSN system had been somehow changed to make the numbers more random.

I guess not.  If it was this easy for a scientist to figure it out, then it will be pretty easy for a scammer to figure it out too.  Another thing to be worried about, but not something we have any way of protecting, which is unfortunate.  Just another reason to keep a good watch on your credit report.

One thought on “Birthplace, Birthdate, and SSN Assignations

  1. Hi,

    So why is it that the US still thinks that the SSN should be the only key to such vital information.

    As an ID you should be able to print it on your t-shirt – there should be other authentication mechanisms in place before you are allowed to use it.

    Once your SSN is compromised how do you revoke it?

    That’s what should be worrying you…

    Best regards

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