Scammers have information at their fingertips.

I received a prerecorded phone message from “Social Security” saying that my SS number had been used in criminal activity and told me to call them back at a phone number in Center Harbor, NH (population: 1,100). I knew it was a scam but I decided to play along. When they asked for my SS number, I gave them the number of Moe Howard (of the Three Stooges) which I had written down at some point.

It blew my mind that they knew the SS number had been issued in California in 1936. I insisted it was my number (I had already told them I was born in 1952), so the scam continued.

They (I had been passed to two supervisors at this point) wanted me to take my Visa and proceed to a local Stop & Shop. I was to stay on the phone with them as I drove to the store. At this point, I feigned “out of gas” and needed to fill up, “I’ll be back after I put gas in my tank”. I set the phone down (but still connected) and they hung up 8 minutes later.

So what was I supposed to do at the Market? Was I to remain on the phone as I purchased some gift cards that they were going to steal from me? Wouldn’t the Stop & Shop Customer Service rep think that was fishy and warn me of a possible scam?

I read years ago that the fields of numbers in the SSAN determines the state and year it was issued.

So far as the scammers and what they were doing: They will have you purchase the cards and then give them the number over the phone to they could quickly redeem them. No idea if the folks at the Stop & Sop would warn you, unless you mentioned something. I mean, do you know how many people buy gift cards?

All the registers at my local supermarket carry a warning about this scam reminding folks that no legitimate agency wants payment in iTunes or gift cards. I presume it is government mandated. I don’t know what they use here (Australia) instead of social security numbers, I haven’t had the pleasure yet but it must be rife.

I’ve been known to use Richard Nixon’s - 567 68 0515

I got mine before they more or less issued them at birth, and my brother got one at the same time, and our numbers are one digit apart.

Same here. Even though I was born two years before my sister, our SS#s are consecutive. I don’t think we got them until we started “working”. I was 3 and my sister was 1. We modeled baby clothes for Hanes. I believe our main qualification was “Daddy was a friend of the photographer”.

Me too (except it’s my sister)!

It is a sorry old world we live in, when people attempt stuff like this.

SS numbers are spectacularly easy to decode:

and fake. They are a shining example of how not to design an identification number.
As the OP discovered, no one should ever rely on a SSN for id nor trust anyone who does. That said, as one part of an ID process, at the same level as one’s name and address, it has it’s uses.

Your main qualification probably was that you sat still and didn’t cry when people were working with you. The deal in the industry is that all babies are cute but not all babies aren’t pains in the neck.
That’s why babies don’t need headshots, especially not expensive professional ones.

Heh. One fine evening in 1971 or so, my dad came home from work with NINE Social Security cards, all sequentially numbered, and distributed them among those of his offspring capable of walking into the living room and reliable enough to not put them in their mouths (I still have mine).

Interestingly, it caused a bit of a foofawraw years later, when my older brother and I were both serving in the Navy, and some PN1 (probably) mistyped one of our Service Numbers on a payroll form.

Make that 1967, and Eight Social Security cards.