Kind-of finance question - son's SSN has been duplicated as a EIN

My son is 20, he (me) tried applying at Chase online for a credit card, it kept insisting that he already had a Chase account (he does not).

After many, many phone calls I finally got to talk to someone that knew what they were doing and it turns out that a business is using my son’s SSN as their EIN. Was told that this happens every once in awhile :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I tried talking to the Social Security office and the very-unhelpful woman insisted that it was impossible (and insisted I was wrong) and that I would need to contact the IRS (?).

Any idea of who to contact about getting this straightened out? My fear is that down the road when he tries to do other financial business or purchase a home that this will cause problems.
I did create a “My Social Security” account for him (and my other two kids while I was at it), as well as freezing his SSN on the credit bureau sites.


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An EIN is a nine digit number and a SSN is ten digits so the person at Chase that knows what they’re doing is fulla crap.

Nope, they’re both nine digits.


It wasn’t “duplicated” as an EIN. Perhaps it was mistakenly or fraudulently used as an EIN. Maybe your use of the word “duplicated” was why the unhelpful woman insisted you were wrong?

Just because someone used an EIN does not mean they report anything to either SSA or IRS using that EIN.

Did you find any issues on the SSA account? It should show any reported income for all the years, make sure it’s all correct. If it is, I don’t think there’s anything for SSA to do.

Similarly you can view your tax account, request an account transcript, or even call for help (but they get busy around tax time). If you don’t find any problems there, I don’t think there’s anything for IRS to do.

Did you find any issues on the consumer reports? Did you pull ALL OF THEM? If you find something, may be a good idea to treat it like identity theft.

Finally, I’m pretty sure you just have to find the right person at Chase. Whoever was able to figure out that someone was using SSN as EIN should also be able to tell you how to get it fixed.


I can’t believe that I did that.


This is the route I would go. But everything in Scripta’s post is good info.


This. It was fraudulantly used, whether intentional or inadvertant. It’s just as likely someone transposed some digits when entering their actual EIN, but the resulting account is still technically fraudulant. But it is something that should be cleared up regardless.


This may be a dumb question, but I couldn’t find an answer in a cursory internet search. Is it possible for the SSA and the IRS to issue the same number as both an SSN and EIN respectively? If so, surely the bank would have a process for distinguishing a business using an EIN and a person using their SSN as an EIN for their sole proprietorship.

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Apparently a business EIN can be the same as a personal SSN number.
Here is a reddit thread about it:


In that case Chase really needs to fix their stupid software. OR correct their inputs for the other business so OP can open a personal account that’s not related to that existing business.

OP should be able to open a business account using their SSN. So the system is still jacked, there really isnt a way to ‘correct’ their system to account for this.

Some of the linked comments said that 1099s were the only real issue, and they were told that if you received one you just needed to have it corrected. But the 1099 issuer is already putting the correct info on the form, there is nothing for them to correct? An entirely correct 1099 is still going to include your SSN and the business’s dollar amounts…

I still think OP should file a fraud claim for that business account, for stealing and using his SSN. Frankly, he (and Chase, for that matter) has no way of knowing if it is a duplicate EIN, a mistyped number, or straight up fraud. I’d feel a little bad potentially doing that to a legit, and innocent, small business, but ignoring it creates an ongoing mess for everyone.


Yes, Chase can distinguish between SSN and EIN, but a human has to do it. We had to go in person to a Chase branch to get his Visa card.


No, not really. They can guess, but that’s mostly based on the application asking for EIN or SSN, and the listed name being a business verses an individual. When you enter 123456789 on an application, there is no way for anyone to tell if it is referring to a SSN or EIN, especially if that number does exist as both.

Hmm… you don’t think there exists a way for a business (a bank in this case) to validate an EIN? Seems odd to me but maybe so… I don’t know myself. I do know you often have to present EIN issuance or other official paperwork showing the EIN to open a business banking account, etc.

I bet any such “validation” only cares whether it’s a valid Taxpayer Identification Number without knowing or caring what kind of TIN it is (SSNs, EINs, and ITINs are all TINs).


I worked in a Bank IT dept for a bit. Most banks have known about this issue for years and choose to willfully ignore it because “what are the odds the business and the person will both bank with us?”

The SSA said the EIN XX-XXXXXXX and the SSN XXX-XX-XXXX are “different” when we asked them. They told us not to ignore the location of the hyphens when writing the IT software. Right…


Yup, that’s pretty much the case. See my comment above about bank IT software.


Yeah, that’s why there is a check digit in each. :crazy_face:

Hi OP,

This actually happened to me once. The way I found out was that the company has an unpaid debt so the debtholder had a thousand or so deducted from my account somehow. I talked to the bank to get the money back (multiple people were very surprised and told me that this shouldn’t happen) and finally persuaded them to see the light. That was over 20 years ago and I’ve never had any issues related to this since.