Social Security Numbers Revealed Online In Public Documents

Over and over again, consumers are told to protect their social security number. It gets to the point where you feel like if you get your identity stolen, it’s your fault. But how well can you do if the companies you’re forced to hand over your private information to as a contingency for doing business with have lax security?

Recently, efforts by security watchdogs to remove public documents showing SS numbers from the internet have met with success, especially after one privacy gadfly (pictured, left, arguing with a landlord who posts his tenants’ SS numbers online) enlisted the help of an unlikely collaborator: farm bureaus. — BEN POPKEN

Think Your Social Security Number Is Secure? Think Again [NYT]


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  1. RandomHookup says:

    When I was in the Army back in the Dark Ages, they used to publish promotion lists included the full name, SSN and duty station of every individual to be promoted… often a thousand or more, and it was a public document. We all have lots of SSNs floating around in all kinds of public records.

  2. viriiman says:

    When I signed my lease, my landlord wanted everyone’s social.

    She never got mine.

  3. BadDolphin says:

    That guy in the picture- can someone post his name and social security number please? Thanks.

  4. MoCo says:

    The State’s Attorney of Montgomery County, Maryland has his social security number on one of his mortgage documents, all of which are accessible on a free, public Maryland state web site.

  5. kevjohn says:

    I’m not sure if characterizing her as a “gadfly” is the thing to do. She seems more like a Freedom Fighter to me.

    (I’d probably just beat the guy til he relented. Not that I advocate the use of violence to take care of disputes. Although Batman never minded.)