Finding SSN's -- Completely Legal for Attorney Clients
Updated on August 20, 2018
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If you’re like most people, you keep a pretty tight leash on your Social Security number. After all, those nine digits are prime information for identity thieves.
But sometimes, finding someone’s SSN is absolutely vital — and in the right situation, it’s completely legal to dig up!
If you’re an attorney or someone who has hired an attorney, finding a Social Security number is essential in certain civil and criminal cases, including:
– Cases where the defendant allegedly owes money (like child support, a debt that has moved into collection, or a lawsuit judgment that he simply doesn’t feel like paying)
– Cases where the defendant claims he can’t respond to your subpoena, lawsuit, or criminal charges because he’s on active military duty. In this case, his Social Security number is needed to verify which branch of service he’s in and whether or not he’s really deployed.
– Cases where the Social Security number in question is relevant to the proceedings (like a fraud case)
– Cases where someone’s Social Security number is needed for official government business
– Cases where your 1099 employee hasn’t turned over his Social Security number. Without it, the tax documents you file will be incomplete, and you’ll be fined by the IRS.
If you’re dealing with one of these scenarios, finding someone’s Social Security number is completely legal. However, most people don’t know that! Even some attorneys assume that all Social Security numbers are off-limits. In reality, though, finding a Social Security number can help a case move forward by leaps and bounds. With it, you’ll be able to do more thorough legal research in the pre-litigation, discovery, litigation, and judgment collection stages.
But there’s a problem.
Legal subscription software that offers business insights, new developments, and thorough research tools — like LexusNexis — typically truncates Social Security numbers. Instead of seeing a full Social Security number, you’ll see a few digits followed by several asterisks. If you and your attorney are trying to track down important information, seeing 123-45-**** isn’t helpful!
Even if some legal subscription software packages come with full access to Social Security numbers, these subscriptions are too expensive for many law firms to fit into their budget.
So how do you find someone’s Social Security number and move forward with your case?
Easy — hire a licensed private investigator with credit bureau access.
Even though attorneys are considered officers of the court, they don’t have as much access to information as a licensed private investigator does. In fact, a licensed private investigator can dig into records and other sensitive information that’s normally just reserved for law enforcement.
But just how complicated is it to have a private investigator find someone’s Social Security number? After all, you’re already dealing with unpleasant legal action. The last thing you need is a private investigator that costs you an arm and a leg without providing any kind of efficient answers.
Luckily, the good private investigators make things as easy as possible.
For starters, they’ll only charge you a one-time fee, and that fee won’t break the bank. For example, here at Docusearch, we charge $49 to look up someone’s Social Security number. If we can’t find the full number for some reason, you don’t have to pay a dime.
A word of caution, though — some private investigators like to take advantage of people in your situation. Because they know you desperately need the information, they’ll make you pay for an expensive subscription or force you to sign up for monthly payments. If your potential private investigator mentions any of this, it’s a definite red flag and you need to find someone else!
Even if you work at a busy law firm that needs to find Social Security numbers on a regular basis, one of these subscriptions will end up costing you more than a one-time fee from a reputable investigator. So no matter how busy you may be, opt for the one-time payment.
Because Social Security numbers are such sensitive information, a good licensed private investigator will do his due diligence to make sure that you really are entitled to the information. If he didn’t, every identity thief on the planet could just call him up and ask for people’s Social Security numbers. Scary, right?!
But that doesn’t mean you have to sit through a long interview, go through a messy maze of red tape, or jump a ton of hurdles. Here at Docusearch, we only ask you to verify that a licensed attorney is asking for the information. We may also ask for a bit of supporting documentation so that we know you really are involved in a court case where someone’s Social Security number is legally accessible. It would be unethical for us NOT to ask for this information!
What about other details? How much does a private investigator need to know about the person in question?
The best licensed investigators know how to dig through official records efficiently by hand, but they’ll still need a couple of details before they can get started. Here at Docusearch, we ask for:
– The person in question’s full name
– His last known address
– His approximate age (if you know his exact date of birth, that’s even better!). As long as he’s over 21 and has established some kind of credit history — good or bad — an investigator with credit bureau access will have no trouble tracking down his Social Security number.
From there, all you have to do is sit back and wait for answers.
Remember, the best licensed private investigators work efficiently. That’s vital when you’re involved in litigation because judges typically issue tight deadlines that can’t be missed. Here at Docusearch, simply contact us during our normal business hours, and our licensed private investigators will be able to get the person’s full Social Security number to you within an hour.
Seems easy enough, right? But unfortunately, some investigators make this process way more difficult than it needs to be.
If someone is passing themselves off as a private investigator — but doesn’t have a license — he may tell you that he has access to everyone’s Social Security number, but that’s simply not true. The only information he may have is an unhelpful, incomplete database.
And then there are websites out there that claim to find someone’s Social Security number in a matter of mouse clicks. However, the people running these websites are usually nameless, faceless people who don’t have a private investigator’s license.
If you’re in the market for legal access to someone’s Social Security number, do a little bit of homework before you pay someone to dig it up. Make sure they actually have a private investigator’s license. Look at some of their customer reviews to see what kind of service you’re going to get. And if you still have some questions, call them. The good ones will be more than happy to answer them.
When you hire Docusearch to find a Social Security number, you’ll end up with valuable information that can move your legal action forward so that you can move forward with your life sooner!