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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The 411 on 541

Here's the end of an old tradition: From now on, Social Security numbers will no longer tell you where the person lived when they got their number. My creaky old number, starting with "144," was issued only to people in New Jersey; my kids' "541" and "542" show that they were born here in Oregon. Under the new system, announced a few years ago but just now being implemented, the numbers are going to be randomly assigned, including some that start with 7 or 8, which has never been the case.

There still won't be any 000's, though, or 666's (guess they're afraid people will revolt if their newborns are given the mark of the devil). And none at 900 or above.

Besides making identity theft a little harder, the change is supposed to postpone us having to go to a 10-digit, rather than a 9-digit, number. Under the new system, we're told, there are still 435 million numbers available to be handed out.

Comments (2)

I was born in Seattle and have a 541. My husband was born in Portland and has a 544. My kids, all born in Portland, have a mix of numbers (I can't remember them off the top of my head).

Depending on when you were born, you may not have been assigned a number at birth. Back in my day, you didn't get a number until you went to work. I think I was 14 or 15 years old. Nowadays the tax rules pretty much require that a number be immediately assigned to a newborn.

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