How to Find Someone Using Their Social Security Number

By Brent Watkins

Although your Social Security number should be closely guarded to avoid identity theft, organizations may need to locate a past employee or conduct background checks. Families may use a long-lost relative's Social Security number to reconnect. A search may also be invaluable in determining whether someone is falsely using the number to create an assumed identity for criminal purposes. Using steps listed below, you'll find retrieving information using a person's Social Security number surprisingly easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Social Security number
  • Credit card

Step 1

Know that the Social Security administration will not provide any information regarding a Social Security number other than whether the number is valid. To make the illegal use of numbers more difficult, the Social Security Administration no longer uses for driver license identification or other documents accessible by the public. While the results of your search may be a matter of public record, the information will not be provided by the Social Security Administration.

Step 2

Confirm the number you want to search is valid. Do this free at the Social Security Administration website, ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm. You will need to register by providing your name, date of birth, postal address, phone number, email address and Social Security number.

Step 3

Hire a private investigator or use a web-based search service. The United States Association of Professional Investigators website, usapi.org, can locate a private investigator near you. The website also contains links to recommended databases that will research the address history of people according to their Social Security numbers.

Step 4

Be prepared to pay for on-line Social Security number searches. Fees vary. Some offer money-back guarantees that the search will yield results. They may not be the results you are looking for, but if you get a blank page with no information, you will not be charged for the service. You will need a valid credit card to use an on-line Social Security search database.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can learn state in which the person you are searching for lived when he applied for the card by looking at the Social Security number. The first three digits of the number correspond to the state in which the card was issued. A table of states and their corresponding Social Security three-digit prefix can be found at einvestigator.com/links/social_security_numbers.htm
  • Do not use information gleaned from Social Security searches for illegal activity. Fraudulent use of a Social Security number is a crime.