Quite often people wonder if there is a way they could find somewhere social security numbers of other people. The very first thing to know and realize, though, is that generally it is illegal to undertake a search for ssn’s in order to use them for any purpose different from uses that are defined by law. You can’t do that unless you have authorization from a court, government agency etc. where you work as employee or agent who is entitled to perform background check screening against crime databases, verify personal identity of people etc. This is what a private individual may be sued for in a court, if done. In part, it is prohibited to publish on the Internet the social security numbers you unintentionally may have got a hold of while surfing on the Internet or using web based resources granting access to public records – often for a nominal fee, which means practically any Internet user can afford using them.
Some states, like Indiana, have enacted or are going to enact progressive laws with provisions even against some of the existing governmental uses of Social Security Numbers for certain purposes. Still, just a few years ago, before the stricter measures were taken, many Social Security Numbers kept appearing on Sex Offend Registry websites and websites of Universities, thus provoking identity theft related crimes and other illegitimate uses of Social Security Numbers.
The situation at some moment took such serious turn that many states, such as Arizona, Colorado, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Washington, and West Virginia, adopted special laws banning public universities and colleges from using SSN’s as student ID’s. Similar restrictions also are regarded by other states in effort to set up more barriers and introducing more advanced preventive measures aimed to protect individuals from ever growing number of identity thefts, as well as to further enforce some of the provisions of the Privacy Protection Act. Still measures did not stop immediately this sort of information leakage, specifically if you look into:
- Mortgage records (temporary conditional pledges of property to a creditor as security against a debt)
- Real property transfer records (land conveyance files, such as deeds and mortgages, normally held in county clerks’ offices)
- Real or personal property lien records, i.e. documents confirming someone’s right to take the property if an obligation is not discharged
- Real property ownership records (normally maintained by county clerk office)
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings
- Federal or state tax liens
- Records of judgments and orders as well as those related to civil proceedings or criminal proceedings (e.g., pleadings, filings, rulings)
- Probate, estate, inheritance, as well as child support or custody records
- Traffic records (crash, DWI or DUI, citations) that may be in disposal of motor vehicle departments, departments of transportation, courts, law enforcement agencies and other related institutions
- Military Discharge Records
- Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
The above are just some of the public records available either off or on line that still can contain full or partial social security numbers, even if normally they are being redacted or truncated (shortened to display fewer digits) before being transferred to the public domain meaning they can be accessed and viewed over the Internet by just about anyone with a computer.