Never fear – Social Security is here

October’s Friday the 13th will soon arrive. Some consider it an
an unlucky day, while others, those suffering from
triskaidekaphobia, are truly terrified of the number 13.

While superstitions play an important part in the Friday the 13th jitters, 
here are 13 things to know about your Social Security number and card.
We hope they help you feel safer!

1. Your Social Security number is your link to
Retirement or Disability benefits since it is used to
record your wages and earnings.

2. There is no charge to obtain a Social Security
number and card.

3. Your records are confidential. Only when the law
requires or when your information connects you to
other government or social service programs, are they

4. To prevent identity theft, keep your Social Security
card in a safe place with other important papers. Don’t
share it with people who call you on the phone, come
to your door or solicit on the web.

5. You need a Social Security number to get a job and
for other services but you often don’t need a card.
Many organizations can verify your number directly
with Social Security.

6. You can replace a lost Social Security card up
to three times a year with a lifetime limit of 10
replacements. Legal name changes are exceptions.

7. Request a replacement card by visiting

8. If you suspect someone is using your number
for work purposes, report the problem to Social

9. If you suspect someone is misusing your number
to create credit or other problems for you, report the
identify theft with the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) at or by calling
1-877-IDTHEFT. You should also contact the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS); file a complaint
with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
at; and monitor your credit reports.
10. The nine-digit Social Security number was initiated 
in 1936 for tracking workers’ earnings over the course of their 
lifetimes for benefits, not with the intent of personal identification. 
Since 1936, we have issued more than 30 different versions of the 
Social Security number card.
11. Until June 2011, the first three digits of a Social Security number 
were determined by the geographical region in which the person lived. 
Numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. 
Residents on the east coast often have lower numbers than those on the 
west coast. Any number beginning with 000 will never be a valid 
Social Security number.

12. Beginning in June 2011, we assigned Social Security numbers 
randomly, which protects the integrity of the Social Security number, 
eliminates the geographical significance of the first three digits 
of the Social Security number, and extends the longevity of the 
nine-digit Social Security number.

13. Since November 1936, we have issued 453.7 million different 
numbers and there are approximately 420 million numbers 
available for future assignments. We assign about 5.5 million 
new numbers a year.


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