Social Security Cards
The following information is provided to assist in the recognition and identification of counterfeit Social Security cards:
Investigators should keep in mind that a Social Security card, by itself, is not valid proof of identity. Social Security cards have been issued since 1936. There are currently 54 different variations in existence.
The seal on the cards has been changed numerous times over the years as follows:
November 1936 - January 1946 the seal read Social Security Board. January 1946 - April 1953 the seal read Social Security Administration. April 1953 - May 1980 the seal read Department of Health, Education and Welfare. May 1980 - March 1995 the emblem was changed to Department of Health and Human Services. April 1995 - present the seal was changed to read Social Security Administration.
Because of the numerous revisions to the card genuine cards may be quite varied in appearance. It is important to conduct a thorough and complete examination of a suspect card before a determination is made regarding its authenticity.
Genuine cards have three perforated edges, (top, bottom, & left side), and have eight perforations per inch. They are computer generated and the information is printed in a standard font. The name and number on the card should be perfectly centered. The signature is actually microprint that reads, "Social Security Administration". Beginning in 1988, when viewed under UV light, the center seal should fluoresce bright red to salmon color. Additionally, if present, planchettes will fluoresce yellow, blue, and pink. Due to the randomness of their placement not every card will have planchettes. ALL Social Security cards are produced on pre-printed bank note paper. This paper has a marbleized blue tint that is erasable and will show attempts of fraudulent alteration.
The work authorization header depicted on the card is the most common feature that is erased. This feature is not present on all cards. Original issue cards will have a small dash on both depicted "columns". Duplicates omit this feature.These columns, which appear on either side of the card, are slightly raised and rough to the touch due to a process known as "Intaglio" printing. This is also known as "the feel of steel".