When is it Legal to Find Someones Social Security Number?
Updated on October 24, 2017
You may think that it sounds more like a plan for identity theft that legal and lawful behavior, but there are times when you’ll need to find someone’s security number.
How do you know if your situation counts as one of those times?
1. Someone owes you money
Let’s say your ex’s child support payments aren’t coming in like they’re supposed to. If all of your other tactics to get him to pay have failed, you’re well within your legal rights to find his Social Security number and use it to garnish his wages.
Searching for SSN’s isn’t just for child support evaders, though. You’ve also got the law on your side if you’re going to use the information to recover civil judgments and other debts that are owed to you.
2. You need to send a 1099
Did you know that if you turn in a 1099 without your freelance employee’s Social Security number on it, it counts as an incorrect 1099 — which opens you up to a sea of questions, penalties, and headaches from the IRS? In fact, you can be fined up to $50 every time you don’t include a Social Security number on a 1099 form!
So, what happens if your freelance employee won’t give it to you?
You don’t have to sit around and wait for the IRS to punish you. Instead, you can search for his SSN on your own. That way, your form won’t be incorrect or incomplete.
3. You need to prove someone is on active military duty
For some people — especially lawyers and trustees — finding someone else’s Social Security number can have even bigger consequences than just a $50 fine.
For example, if an attorney needs to prove that his client is on active military duty — and, thus, isn’t in criminal court for his trial — the best way to do it is to search for his SSN. From there, the court will be able to see what branch the defendant is in and what his start and stop days are.
Or, if a trustee needs to explain why someone is ignoring all of the foreclosure notices that have been sent out, finding his Social Security number and proving he’s on duty might be the only way to do it!
So, if you’re in one of these situations, what do you do next?
Look for a reputable company to handle your search. You’ll have to pay a licensed investigator to search for an SSN for you because this sensitive information is usually just reserved for law enforcement. So, if you think you can get all of the information you need from one of those free Social Security lookup websites, think again!