How to Find People by Social Security Number

By Viola Horne - Updated June 13, 2017
Social Security Card

Though your Social Security Administration (SSA) records are not meant to be public records, it’s pretty common for employers, landlords and even family members to use the SSA to find information.

Reasons People Use Social Security Numbers to Find Information

Social Security was created in 1936 merely as a way to track U.S. workers’ wages and track how much Social Security they were entitled to. Over the years, Social Security has grown into much more than that, and now acts as an identification number. With the passage of the Freedom of Information Act of 1966, information on individuals became even easier to access. Employers may request it to verify employee and job applicant names and addresses. Apartment managers may use it to search for credit and crime records. Families may use it to reconnect with long-lost family members.

How to Find Someone With Their Social Security Number

Whether you are searching for a long-lost friend, relative or other person of interest, you may be able to find them with access to their Social Security Number (SSN). Since the SSN is particular to one individual, it’s best to make these types of requests by making a Freedom of Information Act request through the SSA. This type of request is best used when you want to find someone who is deceased, as you may need to have consent from the person in order to receive information from the SSA otherwise.

Free and Commercial Sites

If you have no luck with the SSA, you can also find people through their SSN online through free and paid services. Many of these services are commercially run, but with a little research, you can find some government- and family-run services as well. Be careful to research the site to ensure that it offers a credible service, as giving away an SSN may lead to identity theft.

About the Author

When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.

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