Social Security Numbers (SSN) are pretty boring, aren’t they? I mean, what possible interest could anyone have in a number like 463 15 5463,1 Well, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is trying to change that. For a fee, they have introduced what they hope will be an exciting new feature: custom social security numbers.
The SSA hopes that citizens will be willing to pay more for a number that they really want. You might, just possibly, think it would be a really great thing for your child to have 000 00 0000 for a Social Security Number. The SSA reports that this number is available for only $1,400. Or perhaps you’re just tired of your number. You can now change it to any available number, starting at $2,265.97. Another exciting aspect of this opportunity is the chance to have an SSN that means something. The cheapest way is to use a kind of writing called 1337 or “leet.” For example, you could give your child an SSN like 413 02 6332, which might, loosely, work out as “ale or beer.” Or, if that’s too low-brow for you, how about 421 57 0713, which means “Aristotle.”
But all this may be too esoteric for you. Maybe you think 1337 is for nerds, or maybe you have an allergy to numbers, or maybe you just want to express yourself, and are willing to pay for the privilege. If so, the SSA is offering premium features, including the ability to use non-numerical characters, including letters and a selection of special symbols, such as ?, *, ), ‽, and ©. Letters are priced similarly to the way they are scored in a scrabble game. Common letters like “e” are only $100 extra2, but “q” will cost you $1,000 each (in addition to the fees for a custom number). But if you want for your Social Security Number, the grand total will come to $19,587.11. And if you want ©, that total will rise to $23,423.07.
Mercury symbol in public domain, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercury_symbol.svg.
Notch button in public domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notchbutton.jpg.