SSN Randomization Incriminates Daddie Dearest, SubscriberWise Reveals

The Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the way Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are issued on June 25, 2011. This change is referred to as “randomization.” The SSA developed this new method to help protect the integrity of the SSN. SSN Randomization will also extend the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide (

MASSILLON, Ohio--()--SubscriberWise®, the nation’s leading provider of analytics-driven subscriber risk management and rules processing technology and the country’s largest issuing consumer reporting agency for the communications industry, announced today that the company’s decision management technology exposed a father who applied for service with his two-year-old daughter’s identity. The father provided the child’s legitimate name and identity - including her recently issued and randomized SSN - but fabricated the toddler’s date of birth so that she would appear old enough to enter into a contract with the operator (audio:

“Prior to randomization, the Social Security Administration issued social security numbers using a methodology based on a three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number, and ending with the four-digit serial number,” said David Howe, president of SubscriberWise. “This system resulted in a predictable pattern that allowed numbers to be verified using published lists and computer algorithms. Randomization has changed this so that it’s impossible to verify a randomized social security number using, for example, ‘Year of Issuance’ validation programs.

“In this particular situation, SubscriberWise returned the usual ‘No Hit’ after the customer service representative processed the identity elements provided by the applicant,” stated Howe. “The ‘No Hit’ can be an indication of predatory behavior, but certainly not always. What is known with the initial ‘No Hit’ is that a file at the repository does not exist with the identity elements provided by the applicant; or it may be that the file exits but could not be returned because of subject selection criteria or even because of the national repository’s interpretation of state laws,” explained Howe. (i.e.

In the communications industry, a ‘No Hit’ is generally attributed to one of the following:

  • submission inaccuracy and subject selection criteria where identity elements do not match sufficiently (name, address, and/or SSN do not match file data, for example)
  • parental id theft and fraud
  • mature cash spenders who never obtained credit because their now deceased spouse managed the finances
  • young people (18 or 19 typically) just starting out and who apply for credit for the very first time
  • new immigrants who have not obtained an SSN and have never applied for credit

On average, only 5 percent of credit submissions return a ‘No Hit’ for SubscriberWise member operators across America; 95 out of 100 credit submissions return a successful decision on the first attempt.

“With this recent service request, the applicant provided a year of birth of 1988. And that was one of the key mistakes the applicant made which raised my suspicions,” continued Howe. “I know from many years of experience that there’s virtually no chance a 23 year old adult living in today’s credit-consuming society has not applied – on at least one occasion - for credit in 5 years of adult-hood. In other words, if there’s no consumer file at the national repository (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) for an individual aged 23 years who is also applying for service with a communications operator, then it’s an exceptionally rare situation and one that I always scrutinize carefully. Simply put, this is an industry fact which is empirically based from more than 50,000 individual credit reports that I’ve personally reviewed during the past decade. It’s further evidenced after more than 1,000 confirmed child identity thefts that have originated at MCTV during the past 10 years.

“I have some suggestions that I believe would better protect minor children from predatory behavior. The suggestions would also protect operators who are the victims of application fraud and service theft. I’m ready to have a discussion with the Social Security Administration and executives of the big three national repositories to consider options, particularly in light of the Red Flag mandates which the federal government requires for every U.S. communications operator,” Howe emphasized.

For the record, Howe made the randomization determination after manually processing the child’s SSN through the SubscriberWise identity management system ( Because no information was obtained for the SSN, and based on the applicant’s age, the assumption of randomization was proved correct.

About SubscriberWise
SubscriberWise® launched as the first issuing consumer reporting agency exclusively for the cable industry in 2006. In 2009, SubscriberWise and TransUnion announced a joint marketing agreement for the benefit of America’s independent cable operators ( Today SubscriberWise is a risk management preferred-solutions provider for the National Cable Television Cooperative. SubscriberWise technology has prevented thousands of child identity thefts and uncovered the misuse of personally identifiable information for operators everywhere. SubscriberWise contributions to the telecom industry are in excess of twenty-five million dollars annually.

SubscriberWise is a U.S.A. federally registered trademark.


David E. Howe, president, 888-596-1119 x137

Release Summary

Father applies for cable service using two-year old child's identity. The SSN provided was randomized and ultimately implicated the father.


David E. Howe, president, 888-596-1119 x137