Invalid or Impossible Social Security Numbers

Social Security Numbers having the following characteristics are invalid or impossible:

  • AREA, GROUP, or SERIAL are composed of all zeroes (e.g, 000-45-6789, 123-00-6789, 123-45-0000)
  • AREA number 666 (never have and never will be issued)
  • AREA numbers 700 to 728 (Railroad workers through July 1, 1963, then discontinued)
  • AREA numbers 900-999 (not valid SSNs, but were used for program purposes when state aid to the aged, blind and disabled was converted to a federal program administered by SSA)

Unassigned GROUP numbers

For administrative reasons, GROUP numbers are NOT assigned sequentially but rather follow this order:

  1. ODD, 01 to 09(01, 03, … 09)
  2. EVEN, 10 to 98(10, 12, … 98)
  3. EVEN, 02 to 08(02, 04, … 08)
  4. ODD, 11 to 99 (11, 13, … 99)

Check the latest Social Security Number Monthly Issuance Table at SSA’s Website for the highest group number assigned for each SSN Area. For example, if the highest group number assigned for area 999 is 72 (within the EVEN, 10 to 98 range), then we know that alleged number 999-04-1234 is an invalid number because group number in the EVEN, 02 to 08 range have not yet been assigned.

Social Security Number Used In Advertising (Making Them Invalid)

Specific Social Security Numbers have been used in advertising over the years, which has rendered those numbers invalid. The most famous instance is that of the E. H. Ferree Company in Lockport, New York, which in 1938 decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. Over time the number that appeared (078-05-1120) was claimed by over 40,000 people as their own.

The SSA tells the whole story The Social Security Administration now recommends that people showing Social Security cards in advertisements use numbers in the range 987-65-4320 through 987-65-4329. According to one source the following SSNs have been used in ads:

002-28-1852 042-10-3580 062-36-0749 078-05-1120 095-07-3645
128-03-6045 135-01-6629 141-18-6941 165-16-7999 165-18-7999
165-20-7999 165-22-7999 165-24-7999 189-09-2294 212-09-7694
212-09-9999 306-30-2348 308-12-5070 468-28-8779 549-24-1889




Providing your Social Security Number on Forms

Every time I complete a form at a bank or at a doctors office, they want my SSN. Since I’m in that industry I know all too well how SSN information gets abused.

As we slid into a recession a few years ago, unemployment mounted and peoples bank accounts started dwindling. Foreclosures on the rise, bad credit card debts mounting, bad loans running amok.

What some not so good people do when their credit is bad and they need to survive…..

We have heard stories where parents that have bad credit will start using their kids SSN to establish new credit. Really easy to do when Joe Sr. uses Joe Jr.’s SSN to get a new credit card. Lots of immigrants share SSN numbers to get work. Very few have photo ID but pass around that Social Security Card.

One thing I still don’t understand is why the SSA (Social Security Administration) doesn’t require a photo on the Social Security Card. Yeah, sure most get an SSN as an infant but shouldn’t it be required at some point?  Hey, how about hooking the SSA up with the DMV’s and start using their photos.  Oh.. no.. that’s way too much bureaucracy.

Everyone needs to be careful. If you are filling out an application you should always ask why they need your SSN. Many doctors forms ask for it but they don’t really need it, especially if you have an insurance card.

Insurance companies and even the DMV in some states use to use a Social Security Number as the DL number or the member number. Laws have made them change that.

Bottom line … Ask Questions. Know who has access to your SSN:

  1. Ask about their privacy policies.
  2. How long they keep it on file.
  3. When do they destroy the document (employer, after you leave, how long?)
  4. How long after you stop going to that doctor do they destroy that paperwork?
  5. Do they shred documents or throw them out. Yikes!

If you stop working someplace or stop going to a doctor, know your rights. Keep track of every place you provided with your SSN and be sure to opt-out of any sharing.

Need to verify an SSN or make sure some one is not using a deceased SSN?
Social Security Numbers are never reissued.
People have been known to use a deceased persons SSN. Make sure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and the founder of Best People Search. offers a Free People Finder and Company Search as well as Data Scrubbing Services. is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.


Help, I Lost my Social Security Card

Help, I Lost my Social Security Card

While we get a lot of people that contact us for our help getting their SSN card replaced, it is something you can do yourself.

Let’s say you moved out of the country for a few years and you had a social security number back then. What happens to that number?

The good news is that the Social Security Administration never reissues SSNs.  They remain with whomever they were issued to until a notice of death is turned into the SSA and theSSN is listed in the SSDI (death index). Therefore, your SSN is yours for the duration of your life.  It would not be reassigned to anyone.
We do offer a SSN and name match service which is derived from many sources including but not limited to the SSDI (a death record search), public records, court records, credit files, private data, and much more. Unfortunately computerized public records typically only go back so many years.

If you have not been in the states for years (a decade for example) it is likely that you haven’t used your SSN for anything for it to get reported – no mortgages, no auto loans, no utilities, no credit cards, etc. So if there isn’t any reported activity linked to your SSN our SSN and name match report may be unable to confirm a match with your name. We would still report the active or inactive status as defined by a death records search. However if there were fraudulent activity on your SSN another name would be listed and the SSN and name match service would come back as false (meaning a match to your name). If that happened you may opt for a reverse SSN Lookup.

If no information is found, and you haven’t used your SSN in years, it is actually a good sign. Since that would mean no one has been trying to use your SSN without your consent either, so your SSNis still clean.

If your SSN is still considered “active” according to our service but no name was found, that just means there isn’t any current information for the investigators to either deny or confirm the match to your name.

Keep in mind that once an SSN is assigned it is for the duration of your life. You can rest assure that if the SSN you provide was in fact issued to you in the past, it is still yours.

If you lost your Social Security Card, you may want to contact the SSA and get a replacement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and the founder of Best People Search. offers a Free People Finder and Company Search as well as Data Scrubbing Services. is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.


How do I find out if someone is deceased?

How do I find out if someone is deceased?

A Social Security Death Records search also known as Social Security Death Index “SSDI” is a database of death records available online from many resources. It is included in most reverse social security number lookup searches.

This list is a brief history of the SSDI:

  • August 14, 1935 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law.
  • 1936-1937 – Approximately 30 million U.S. residents apply for and receive Social Security numbers.
  • Jan 1, 1937 – Workers begin acquiring credits toward old-age insurance benefits, and payroll tax (FICA) withholding begins.
  • 1947 – Application for Social Security number no longer includes employer information.
  • 1962 – Electronic requests for benefits become commonly used, resulting in what is known as the Social Security Death Index.
  • 1963 – Issuance of Social Security numbers beginning with 700-728 to railroad employees was discontinued.
  • 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare into law. Many citizens over age 65 receive Social Security cards for the first time.
  • 1967 – Department of Defense begins using Social Security numbers instead of military service numbers to identify Armed Forces personnel.
  • 1972 – SSA is required by law to issue Social Security numbers to any legally admitted alien upon entry, and to obtain evidence of age and citizenship or alien status and identity.
  • 1972 – SSA begins assigning Social Security numbers and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, and the area number assigned is based on the mailing address zip code from the application.
  • 1989 – SSA program enables parents to automatically obtain a Social Security number for a newborn infant when the birth is registered with the state.

The SSDI is an index to information about persons with Social Security numbers whose deaths have been reported to the Social Security Administration. The death may have been reported by a survivor requesting benefits. It may have been reported in order to stop Social Security Benefits to the deceased. Funeral homes often report deaths to the SSA as a service to family members.

Beginning in 1962, the SSA began to use a computer database for processing requests for benefits. About 98% percent of the people in the SSDI died after 1962, but a few death dates go back as far as 1937.

Because legal Aliens in the U.S. can obtain a Social Security card, their names may appear in the SSDI if their deaths were reported. Some 400,000 railroad retirees are also included in the SSDI.

The Social Security Death Index is not an index to all deceased individuals who have held Social Security Numbers. It is not a database of all deceased individuals who have received Social Security Benefits, or whose families have received survivor benefits.

If you are pretty sure the individual you are looking meets the criteria for inclusion in the SSDI but does not appear in the index, there are some things you might try:

  • If searching by name, try searching by possible alternate name spellings.
  • If searching by birth or death dates, change them around (i.e. instead of searching for 5 Oct 1958 [10/5/58], search for 10 May 1958 [5/10/58])
    Change years around (i.e. 1974 becomes 1947).
  • Use all other possible spellings of the name (and perhaps some that aren’t so likely). When searching for a name like O’Reilly, or other names with punctuation in them, try the name without the punctuation (e.g. OReilly).
  • If you are looking for someone using first and last name but can’t find them try searching with first initial and last name.
  • There are also rare instances of what appear to be middle initials included with the last name, so you may want to try that as well.
  • We also recommend switching the last name and first name around.
  • Or, try searching for a middle name as a first name.
  • Even if you know a piece of information, try omitting it (i.e. if you know first and last name and death date, try leaving off the first name).

If none of these suggestions work, it is possible that the SSDI has erroneously omitted your subject. If this is the case, you can contact the SSA to correct it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is President and CEO of Intelligent eCommerce, Inc. and the founder of Bestpeoplesearch is a private investigtor portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.