Identifying Fraudulent Social Security Documents: A Tool For Law Enforcement Officers

Customs and Border Patrol

  • Michael R. Fowlkes, Fraudulent Document Officer
  • 6 pages
  • The information contained in this report is intended for use by Law
    Enforcement officers for the purpose of identifying fraud.
  • July 20, 2006


Social Security Facts:
· The Social Security act was signed by FDR on August 14, 1935.
· Ernest Ackerman was the first recipient of Social Security benefits. He received a
one –time lump sum payout of 17 cents.
· FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.
· Social Security numbers were first issued in 1936. To date, over 415 million
different numbers have been issued.
· When someone dies his or her Social Security number is NOT reused. The ninedigit
Social Security number allows for approximately 1 billion possible
combinations. At this point there is no need to recycle numbers.
· From 1946 to 1972 there was a legend on the bottom of the card which read “
· The group number (the two middle digits) is not a code used for identifying the
race of the cardholder.

GROUP Numbers:

GROUP numbers for any given AREA are issued as follows,
once all possible GROUP numbers in a set being assigned
before the next set is issued. (00 is not used)

1. Odd numbers 01 to 09
2. Even numbers 10 to 98
3. Even numbers 02 to 08
4. Odd numbers 11 to 99

Every month the Social Security Administration publishes a
list of the highest GROUP number issued for each AREA. By
knowing the highest group number issued in a particular
AREA you can determine whether or not a number you are
examining is fraudulent.

As an example, if the highest group number for AREA 520 is
82 and the number you are checking has a group number of 04
then the number you are checking is a fraud, because even
numbers between 02 and 08 have not yet been issued in this

SERIAL Numbers:

The SERIAL numbers are a straight numerical sequence from
0001 – 9999. (0000 is never used)
INVALID Social Security numbers:
· Any of the three fields contain all zeros
· AREA number “666” never has and never will be used
· AREA numbers 650-699
· AREA numbers 729 to 999 except for 764 and 765
· AREA number 550, GROUP 19 (i.e. 550-19-0001)
· AREA number 586, GROUPS 19,29,59 and 79-99

The Following numbers are used in Movies and Advertising
and are invalid: 987-65-4320 thru 987-65-4329 as well as the

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

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