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You really wouldn’t believe how easy it is to obtain someones Social Security Number. Especially if the person who’s social security number you want helps you out. Before I go into the exact details of how to go about obtaining someones social security number I must say that you should not do this. This is strictly for educational purposes only. Obtaining someones Social Security Number and using it against them is a Federal crime. This is being written so you can understand how people can get it so you can protect yourself.
The techniques in this post will soon not be able to work as well as they once did. This is because as of June 2011 the Social Security Administration office changed the way Social Security numbers where issued. They changed this because of the increasing rates of Identity Theft. But the downside to this is that if you do suspect ID theft. You will not be able to get a new SSN until you actually suffer a loss. Before 2011 even if you suspected theft you would be able to get a new number.
Things You’ll Need
- Social Security Death Master Files
- Decent Math Skills
- The persons full name
- The DOB of the person (mainly the year of the person that was born)
- The state that the person was living in at the time they received their SSN
As you can see most of things you will need you will mostly already have, if you don’t already have them you will not be able to succeed. But here is a few peaces of extra info for you. The best way to get the Date Of Birth of the person is to simply ask. People are more willing to give info like this to pretty much anyone. The same is true for getting the state they received their SSN in as well as their full name.
The first thing we will need to do is download the Social Security Death Master Files. These are plain text files that obtain every Social Security Number of people who have died. These files are perfectly legal to obtain, since Social Security Numbers become public after someone dies. These files are handy to have mainly because once a social security number has been issued to someone it will never ever be used again. Because of this we can see which numbers have already been used which will eliminate many problems for us. The Death Master files are in a plain text format and are extremely huge in size. About 20GB. They won’t open up in your average text editor inside of Windows system. So if your using Windows you will need to split them up into smaller chunks or install a text editor that will support a text file as big as this one.
Now that we have downloaded the Death Master file we will now need to know how exactly social security numbers are issued before the date of June 2011. Before that date the first 3 numbers of the social security number which are known as the area number. Indicated what state the number was issued to. These three numbers are created a lot like the Zip Codes work. They start from the lowest number on the east coast and get higher as you go south and west. Below is a chart for each state.
|SSN Area Number||Location|
|577-579||District of Columbia|
|729-733||Enumeration at Entry|
The area number range varies depending on the state size and population. Also some states have already exhausted all of their area numbers. And have been forced to use reserve numbers.
Now in the early 1950’s late 1940’s the US started pushing Social Security numbers on people the day they where born. The numbers would usually stick with the person for the rest of their life unless the number was compromised. Knowing this and knowing the state that the person was born in or grew up in can easily help someone find out the first three digits of a person social security number. Not only that but while looking at the Death Master file we can determine what numbers have been already used.
Many people claim that the fourth and fifth numbers determine the race. This was somewhat true at a certain point in time. Up until the 1962 the fourth and fifth numbers to secretly determine the nationality of a person. This changed after several Sicilians noticed that the fourth and fifth numbers where all the same among their friends. Which eventually the start of the first forms of Identity theft. In 1962 the fourth and fifth numbers changed to be the way they would be filed.
The fourth and fifth numbers later called the group numbers, range from 01 to 99. The way these numbers are issued are as follows. Odd, Even, Even, Odd. For example the first child born in a certain state of a certain year will have a number something like AAA-01-NNNN the second child in that state will have a number like AAA-03-NNNN. Once the number gets up to 09 it then goes to 10, 12, 14, 16 and so on up to 98. Once it reaches 98 the numbers 02 all the way to 08 will be used. The last is Odd which will be numbers 11 all the way to 99. So knowing the date of the persons birth can help you out a lot when trying to figure out a social security number.
The last four digits of a social security number are randomly generated. They are technically the serial number for that particular person. Their really is only a few ways to really get the last for digits. Which is scanning the Death Master file and finding all numbers that contain the first five digits, and check to see what the last four digits can’t be that way.
Another common way to find out what the last four digits of the social security number is. Is by asking the person. This can easily be achieved by spoofing a call from a college phone number. And impersonating a survey taking person. Or by spoofing the number of a bank and impersonating a person working for the bank. Either way if you play the game right most people will be more then willing to give the last four digits of their social security number to you.
Another thing is if you look at the Death Master files. You will see that their is somewhat of a pattern for each year a social security number is issued. So if you know someones birth date is 1982. And you look at the Death Master file for peoples social security numbers that where issued in 1982. And you get about thousand of those numbers. You can count the number of coinsurance of each digit and section.
For example for people born in 1982. We can take 200 social security numbers that are publicly available do to the persons death. And we will will see that the area numbers show up a certain amount of times.
In 1982 the area numbers showed up four times out of 200 numbers. The numbers 066 showed up nine times. The numbers 058 showed up only once. Obviously because their are very few variations that can still be used with the 058 number. So we have good idea of what the most probable number someones area number could be in their social security number.
Now we count the amount of times a group number is used for that particular year. In 1982 we see that out of 200 publicly available social security numbers the group number 64 is used 69 times. Where the group number 90 is only used once. So we will can make logical guess that the persons group number will most likely have the number 64 in it. This gives us a good idea that their is about 62% chance that person born in 1982 will have the numbers 066-64 as the first five numbers in their social security number.
Use this section only if you don’t know the last four digits of the persons social security number.
Now we have a good starting point for ourselves. We have rough idea that the someone who has gotten a social security number in the state of NY in the year 1982 will probably have the first five digits of 066-64. This leaves us with just under 10,000 possible numbers. And a even a lot less then that since people have died since the creation of social security numbers. So we can create a number generator that will generate every number in the last four digits. In a matter of seconds after the we fire up the generator we will have every possible combo. If we are smart enough we would make the generator exclude all numbers that are listed in the Death Master file. Since we will know it wont be any of them.
We may be able to see some sort of possible pattern used in the last for digits as well. Lets first count the number of times each digit appears in a list of 200 social security numbers issued in 1982.
We see the number 2 shows up the most. It shows up 94 times. And we see that the number 4 is used the least number of times. It only shows up 71 times. Now lets count the number of times 00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 show up out of the 200 numbers.
We can see that the 80 shows up 12 times and 10 only shows up four times which is the least out of the above numbers. Now we will count the number of times 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99 show up in our list. We see that both 88 and 33 show up nine times. Which is the most out of the numbers we are now counting.
Next we will count the amount of times 12, 23, 34, 45, 56, 67, 78, 89 show up in our list. We will now see that the numbers 67 shows up the most in the list. It shows up 13 times.
We now have good idea of a possible pattern for the last four digits of social security number issued in 1982. We may want to first check numbers with a similar pattern first. And work our way from their.
When this is done we find out that we now are left with just a handful of social security number possibilities for the state of NY using 066-64 as the first five numbers. In fact we only have 7500 possible numbers it could be. But we also will know that out of the 7500 possible numbers it will most likely be one of the 728 numbers we try if we have developed our pattern correctly.
Now we can punch these numbers into a social security number validator that the Social Security Administration gives out to everyone for the need of employment and credit checks. The complication here is we have 750 combinations. And we are limited to using the validator 10 times per day. Plus we need to know the persons last name for the validator.
We can easily get around the 10 time a day limit by proxying our IP Address and clearing cookies and cache files on our browser. Now we can get threw about 200 per day. This means we could get our victims social security number within single day after we have done our other research. However their is the possibility that our victim could be the rare exception with the first five digits. In which case we would either choose another victim or try the next possible area number combo and group number combo for that year. Either way using this the methods I talk about here any thief can find your social security number in as short as a month. And with the proper software and computer power an identity thief could get 3 to 5 victims in a single day.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to never ever ever give any portion of your social security number out to anyone. Especially the last four digits which are the hardest to crack, yet are also the most common ones to be given out to strangers. You have the right to refuse to give your social security number to credit card companies as well as job employers. Legally they have to respect your privacy if you explain your refusal. If they turn you down for such a refusal they are breaking the law. The only time you should ever be forced to use your social security number is when applying for disability income or filing for taxes.
Another way to protect yourself is to never ever tell someone where you where born and the date of your birth. This is a common thing we do. But can be extremely dangerous. Especially today with the the amount of Social Security numbers that have been issued through out the years. The process of elimination becomes extremely easy for a thief.
Theirs a reason why in 2008 identity theft started increasing rapidly. And why it increases every year. The reason is because identity thieves know that a social security number will never ever be used again even after the holder of the number has died. They also know that the amount of deaths that have happened since the creation of social security numbers means that by this point in our history theirs limited amount of possible combinations that can be used. And with the speed of computers today they can get extremely accurate results with custom built software installed on computers newer then 2008.
This was realized in 2011 when the Social Security Administration changed the way social security numbers where issued to people. The new method of administering social security numbers is completely random. However they still wont use numbers that have already been issued in the past even if the person has been dead for quite some time. Because of this it becomes much harder for people who already have social security number to get new one. Mainly because of the limited amounts.
People born between 1975 to 1980 in a small states and towns have 50% risk of theft. People born between 1981 to 1990 in small areas have 65% risk of theft. People born in 2000 to June of 2011 in small areas have 98% risk of theft. These numbers are not only scary as hell but extremely factual. This means that identity theft will increase every year until about 2022. And people born in the 90’s will be the ones at most risk.
Educate yourself on how to protect your identity. Because even if your identity has been stolen you will only qualify for new new number if you have suffered some sort of financial loss.
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