Structure of Social Security Numbers

Social security numbers are issued by the US Social Security Administration, and are used to help identify the citizens of the United States by number. These important 9-digit numbers provide information that can be used to help people obtain credit, apply for a job, and identify themselves for the purposes of taxation. They also prove that individuals are American citizens. All social security numbers start with three digits, then two in the middle, and finish with four numbers. The first three numbers are called the area number. The area number shows the region or state where a person was born, and was first adopted in 1936. Here are some links to more information about social security area numbers:

The group numbers are the two middle numbers of a social security number. These numbers do not represent the geographical region, but they do represent the order in which a number was issued for a particular region. For example, if someone was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, then the area number (the first three digits) represents that geographical part of the state, and the group number shows the order in which the person was born within that particular area. This number can be reissued at the discretion of the Social Security Administration. The numbers 00 are never assigned as a group number, so if these numbers are submitted they will usually be flagged as fraudulent. More information on group numbers can be found here:

The final four numbers of a social security number are called the serial number. These numbers are designated in chronological order, and correspond with the area and group numbers. Often, many companies and creditors verify someone's identity by asking for the last four, or serial number on a person's SSN. These numbers are random and designed to help distinguish one number from the next.

In today's modern world, identity theft has become a very serous issue. Some thieves may try to obtain merchandise or credit with a fake social security number. The group number and serial number will never be zeros in succession. Social security numbers will also never contain a letter in any portion of the number. The United States government has ways to detect an illegitimate number, and also posts some helpful information for merchants, creditors, and citizens so they can detect when a number is fake. For more information on discerning between real and fake social security numbers, as well as general information, please see one of the following links: