40,000 People Stole the Same Social Security Number
February 29th, 2012|
FDR signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935. It was created as a self-funding program paid through payroll taxes paid by both the employee and his employer, according to Mansfield Patch.
If you think that identity theft is a new phenomenon, think again. According to the Social Security Administration, one social security number has been improperly used by more than 40,000 people.
In 1938, a wallet manufacturing company thought that it would be a good idea to promote its latest product by showing how a social security card would fit into its wallets.
The company’s Vice President thought that it would be a clever idea to use the actual Social Security Number (SSN) of his secretary. The shiny new wallets, equipped with her card (for display purposes only), were distributed to department stores.
Then something strange began to happen. The Social Security Administration began to realize that thousands were reporting income and paying taxes using her social security number. Even though the card had the word “specimen” written across the face, many purchasers of the wallet adopted the SSN as their own.
In the peak year of 1943, 5,755 people were using the secretary’s number. As late as 1977, 12 people were found to still be using the SSN “issued by Woolworth.”