What’s in your Social Security number?
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Question: Are Social Security numbers assigned randomly, or is there a system involved?

Answer: Contrary to popular belief, Social Security numbers are not issued randomly. The Social Security Administration uses an interesting system of assignment.

The first three digits are issued by the state. The numbers increase from east to west. New Hampshire starts area numbers from 001 to 003, while Hawaii uses numbers beginning with 575 to 576. Massachusetts residents get numbers 010 to 034.

The second two digits are called a Group Number, which act like chapters in a book. Group numbers range from 01 to 99. Instead of being issued in chronological order, a complex system of even vs. odd number issuance exists.

Finally, the last four digits are called serial numbers, issued in numerical order from 0001 to 9999. Not wanting to label anyone a 0, the serial number 0000 is never used.

Here’s a fun fact: The Social Security Administration assigned 10 fake Social Security numbers for use in show business (987-65-4320 to -4329). Like television, where fake telephone numbers begin with the digits “555,” these fake numbers belong to nobody and are used only for entertainment or advertisements.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law in Billerica at 790 Boston Road. Contact him to begin an estate plan or with questions at 978-671-0711, www.hlawoffice.com or email him at james@hlawoffice.com.