Supporting Amateur Radio Emergency Communications

Wallet Social Secuity CardSocial Security Numbers (or SSN’s) were first issued in 1935 to track individuals’ accounts within the Social Security program. The Social Security Administration does not reuse social security numbers and has issued over 450 million since the start of the program.

QUESTION:

What is special about Social Security Number 078-05-1120?

ANSWER:

It was the most misused Social Security Number of all time.

EXPLANATION:

In 1938, as part of a promotion to sell wallets primarily through Woolworth’s, wallet manufacturer E. H. Ferree Company used a sample Social Security card to demonstrate how it would fit into its wallets. The sample was placed inside each wallet and displayed the Social Security number of the company’s secretary, Mrs. Hilda Whitcher. Even though the sample card was half of the size of an actual Social Security card, was written in red, and had Specimen written in bold (see above), many people mistakenly thought it was their own Social Security number. The number, 078-05-1120, became the most misused Social Security number of all time.

In 1943, 5,755 people were mistakenly using this number. Over time, the number has been claimed by a total of over 40,000 people as their own. The SSA initiated an advertising campaign stating that it was incorrect to use the number. (Hilda Whitcher was issued a new SSN.) However, the number was found to be in use by 12 individuals as late as 1977.

NET CHECK IN’s:

A total of 26 people checked into the Net tonight. Of those, 1 had the correct answer to the Trivia Question.  Congratulations to:

  • John – KD6JEV

Thank you to all who participated in the Net.

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