In order to increase the number of SSN's available, beginning this month the SSA will be changing the way new SSNs are assigned. SSNs have always been assigned geographically. We can often tell where someone's SSN was issued based on the first three digits of the SSN. The new method will issue the numbers randomly and also allow new digits in the 'area' fields (the first 3 digits).
The SSA is also hoping these changes will help reduce identity theft. The SSA will continue to offer SSN Verification Services to assist employers in determining name and number matches for employment tax reporting, and will continue working with the Department of Homeland Security's e-Verify program to help employers determine employment eligibility.