A free SSN search is a popular way to locate people, check criminal records, run background checks, etc. Depending on exactly what you’re trying to do, you may be able to run an SSN search for free, but there are often limitations on the information you can get (and on who is authorized to run them).
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What is an SSN?
Social security numbers are the main identifying number used for official government/legal transactions as well as on credit records; consequently there’s a wealth of information associated with a person’s social security number (though a lot of it is not part o the public records). Typically, a lawyer, private investigator or credit agency can conduct an SSN search and get relatively fast public record results.
However, these SSN searches are far from free and can only be run if you have one of the few approved, official purposes. In addition, they typically require consent from the person you’re searching (assuming it’s not for yourself).
Is a Social Security Number public information?
Social Security Numbers are not public information, but it was not originally meant to be sensitive information. The SSN was intended solely for the purpose of the administration social security benefits. However, social security numbers eventually became a personal identification number for official purposes – such as credit, employment, and other legal matters.
The growing use of social security numbers beyond the original US Government purpose led to it becoming something that needs to be kept private. However, an SSN lookup can still reveal certain information – such as what state the SSN was issued in and the year that it was issued.
Do you automatically get a Social Security number at birth? If not, how do babies get an SSN?
Social security numbers are not automatically issued at birth, even if the baby is born to American parents in a US hospital. You will be asked if you want to apply for an SSN when you give information for your baby’s birth certificate (assuming the baby is born in the US). Both parents will need to provide their social security number (though you can still apply even if both parents’ SSNs are not known).
If a baby is born outside the US – or if you decide not to apply at the hospital when the baby is first born – you can apply at your local Social Security office. There is an SSN application to complete and you will also need to provide identifying information proving the baby’s identity and your identity as well as their claim to US citizenship.
What documents show your Social Security Number? How can I prove by Social Security Number without a card?
The Social Security Administration provides an SSN card that includes your name and social security number. However, proof of your SSN can be shown with other tax documents, such as a W-2 (wage/pay stub), an SSA-1099 (Social Security Benefit statement), or almost any other personal tax filings at the state or federal level that includes your name and social security number.
If you have misplaced your SSN card, you may be able to apply for a replacement online by creating an account with the Social Security Administration.
Do Social Security Numbers Expire?
No – social security numbers do not expire. In fact, social security numbers are widely used by people researching their US ancestry as SSNs are not reused and will always be associated with a specific person even after they are deceased.
In extreme situations where an identity has been compromised, a new SSN may be issued by the Social Security Administration.
How can I get a Free SSN Lookup?
For free SSN searches, the Social Security Administration – who administer social security numbers – offer SSN verification for businesses, but, of course, you actually have to be a registered business and the information itself is limited to simply verifying that the number you have is correct.
For informational purposes, our free SSN Validation tool may also be useful.
The USATrace.com SSN Search also provides free results using just a name and partial social security number.
Can you look up someone by their Social Security Number?
If you’re interested in finding someone (i.e. getting a current address and phone number) and checking criminal records and other public records (marriage/divorce records, bankruptcies, etc.) using a social security number, you can discreetly run a background check online.
In fact, you don’t even need to use an SSN (which is a huge plus from a security perspective) – almost all the available public records in our SSN search have been compiled and sorted so that you can search with just a name and last known city and state.
As you’ll see, the preview results can be helpful to ensure you’ve got the right person and get an idea of the information that’s available – it’s quick, free, and might give you enough information for further searching. If you decide you want to dig deeper, you can get reports starting from about $10 – not free, but it’s instant and thorough.
There are also options for unlimited searches for one low rate, so if you’re doing a lot of research, the cost per search can drop significantly. In fact, this is exactly what many private investigators do (though they charge their customers significantly more).
SSN Lookup FAQs
Can you look someone up by their Social Security number?
Yes, you can look someone up by their social security number, but it depends on what you’re trying to do. With a name and social security number, you can run background checks and check public records. If you only have a social security number with no name, you won’t be able to do much more than verify that it’s an authentic SSN issued by the Social Security Administration.
Is a Social Security number public information?
Though social security numbers weren’t originally intended to be secret, they are not public information because they’re so closely tied to a US person’s identity for important things like credit/loans, housing, and employment. However, as social security numbers are not reissued, the SSNs for people who are deceased eventually become public information for things like genealogy research.
What documents show your Social Security number?
The Social Security Administration issues a Social Security card with your social security number on it. Tax returns and certain other legal documents will also include social security numbers for identification.
How can I prove my Social Security number without a card?
An officially issued SSA Social Security card is the best way as driver’s licenses and passports don’t contain a social security number. If you have a US birth certificate or passport, it is possible to order a replacement Social Security card with the Social Security Administration.
Do you automatically get a Social Security number at birth?
No, social security numbers are not automatically issued at birth – even for babies born in the US to US citizens. You must apply for a baby’s SSN and the Social Security Administration then verifies the birth record before issuing a social security number.
Does SSN expire?
No, an SSN never expires. In rare circumstances – such as identity theft – a new social security number may be granted, but it otherwise follows you wherever you go (even if you change your name).
1. How do Private Investigators perform a social security number lookup?
2. How can I perform a social security number lookup?
3. Can I perform a social security number lookup on someone who has died?