According to the Social Security Administration, the only way to legally obtain another individual's Social Security number is with that individual's written consent. Social Security numbers are protected information under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Freedom of Information Act defines which government records are available for public access. The act also outlines instructions for obtaining such information. Some information, however, is protected as private under the act. Social Security numbers, because of the sensitivity of the information, are among the information that is protected. The Social Security Administration provides individuals access only to their respective Social Security numbers and also provides them with a process for correcting erroneous information.