What can someone find out if they know your SSN?

How wary should I be over the issue of giving out my social security number? Say that someone had my full name, SSN, and birth date; what could he or she find out with this information alone?


Sorry, I intended to post this in General Questions. Mods, please move this thread when it’s convenient.

They could file for a credit card in your name, among numerous other bad things. SSN is very useful in identity theft.

Of course, if someone is gunning for you (P.I.), you are screwed. They will find out the information. All you can do is control your personal information and vigilantly shred or destroy records bearing this information when you throw them out.

It’s funny how the feds expressly say that the SS number is not to be used as a form of ID, but EVERYONE requires it. Try to apple for anything, from a video rental to a job, and leave it out. Good luck.

“…try to APPLY.”

Geez, I’ve been up too long…

They could put together a pretty complete profile on you.

All they really need to start with is you name and either your address or phone number. From there, anyone skilled in the art with, availability to the right databases,could come up with your SSN. From there its just research and putting a puzzle together.

Current and past employment.
Past places of residence.
Credit and Bank Account information.

Depends on how motivated the searcher is.
Also depends on how unscrupulous they are.

[Moderator Hat ON]

Sending this off to General Questions, as requested.

[Moderator Hat OFF]

They could run an FBI search:

Nice link, handy.

Give me your name, s.s.#, and address, and I can
get a full credit report. Then I can use your
credit cards on the Internet! Not that I would…

How can someone find employment history once they have the SS number? Can they legally request that info from the government or is there some illegal-but-common way to get it?

It’s routine to put such information on credit
histories. It’s too easy for people to claim
being employed and give the name of
a friend who works at the company who will
verify non-existant employment.

You are (or were) expressly forbidden from using the card to identify yourself, but the number is up for grabs. Why does my old social security card say it can’t be used
as ID?