Investigations and Social Security NumbersFew people think much about their social security number, other than protecting it from identity thieves. But the actual number was – in the past – very telling.

conducts a lot of investigation of specific people for a wide variety of reasons:

  • A missing person investigation
  • An identity theft
  • An asset search
  • Due diligence for personal or professional reasons
  • Insurance fraud

And a social security number can be a source of leads and information. But a relatively recent change adds some new challenges – and opportunities. The first three digits of a social security number used to stand for something specific. Each state had a certain series of numbers and other groups, like railroad workers, their social security number always began with digits from 700 – 728. That’s because the railroads were at one time the largest employer in the nation.

The first three digits – we call it the prefix – are no longer specific to each state. That means we won’t know where a person resided when the number was issued to them. When finding missing persons, that time stamped a location which was a clue we could follow.

However, knowing information like how railroad workers cards were issued can be helpful. If someone born after 1963 has a social security number that begins with that series, we can ascertain that they are using a fraudulent number. That can be important to insurance fraud investigators like .

For instance, in one case where we were investigating a potential disability insurance fraud claim, we were able to collect evidence that the social security number of the claimant was actually fraudulent. In the end, the insurance company did not pay the claim and the business owner was saved the additional premium expense.

Social security numbers are a valuable commodity being sold and obtained by illegal aliens and identity thieves. It’s a fact and those numbers will continue to be an important tool in the intelligence community. Protect yours and don’t be afraid to seek the help of an attorney and an investigator if you have the need. If you suspect something is not quite right, the best thing to do is let a firm like get the facts so you can make sound decisions going forward.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations