Did you know that 6.1% of Americans have at least two Social Security numbers associated with their name? A hundred thousand Americans have five or more associated with their name. Those are just two the amazing statistics out of an surprising report by ID Analytics. When you consider that there are 1,000,000,000 possible Social Security numbers, of which over 420 million numbers have been issued since November 1936 (according to the SSA’s FAQ), it’s amazing there aren’t more errors.
I experienced this first hand a few years ago when I discovered a keying error resulted in me having two Social Security numbers. It took a little while to fix the error with the credit bureaus, which I discovered resurfaced just a few weeks ago, but someone typed a 0 instead of a 6 and I was awarded a second number (the bureaus obviously don’t double check this stuff… they probably don’t care).
This underscores the importance of keeping tabs on your credit report, which you can review annually, because that’s really the first place where duplicate numbers can really hurt you. Sometimes the duplicates are the result of honest errors and sometimes it’s fraud, keeping tabs on your credit report will help you fix it as soon as possible.