FACT CHECK: No, Social Security Numbers Are Not Bank Accounts Controlled By The Federal Reserve

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook over 480 times claims Social Security numbers are linked to accounts controlled by the Federal Reserve.

Verdict: False

Social Security numbers are not tied to Federal Reserve-controlled bank accounts. The Federal Reserve has refuted such claims and confirmed it doesn’t maintain accounts for individuals.

Fact Check:

The post purportedly shows a Social Security card from 1936 alongside one created more recently. “The ss card on the top is a card from 1936… Now if you look at this card, what does it say? ACCOUNT NUMBER!!” the caption states. “Now the one at the bottom are the new ss cards… You notice they took the words account number off because they don’t want you to know that your ss card is an account connected to the federal reserve banks!!”

The original 1936 design for Social Security cards included the phrase “account number,” but it was removed as the design changed over the years, according to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Version History webpage. The number on an individual’s Social Security card does not correlate with a Federal Reserve bank account, however.

The Federal Reserve previously released a statement on its website debunking the claim, stating that it only provides “financial services to banks and governmental entities” and that “individuals cannot, by law, have accounts at the Federal Reserve.” (RELATED: Does The Federal Government Borrow $1 Million Every Minute?)

The statement goes on to confirm claims about Social Security numbers being tied to Federal Reserve-controlled bank accounts are false and reiterates the Federal Reserve does not maintain accounts for individuals. “Individuals who attempt to pay bills or conduct other transactions using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number may face penalty fees from the company they were attempting to pay, or the suspension or closure of their commercial bank or payment service provider accounts,” the statement warned.

The nine digits included on a Social Security card do not equate to a bank account number. The first three digits, called the area number, indicate the state of residence listed on the Social Security number application form, according to the SSA’s “Meaning of the Social Security Number” guide. The next two numbers, referred to as the group number, are used for the SSA’s processing measures, while the last four, labelled the serial number, are randomized, the guide states.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter