Okay, this was an accidental fraud.
Way back in 1938, a wallet manufacturer called E.H. Ferree of Lockport, N.Y., added a mock Social Security card into its wallets, which were sold by Woolworth’s and other department stores. The mock card had the number 078-05-1120, which actually belonged to Hilda Schrader Whitcher, a secretary at the wallet company.
Before long, some of the wallet owners adopted the number as their own, and over the years, some 40,000 people have claimed that number, Social Security said. As late as 1977, 12 people were still using the number, Social Security said.
Whitcher was questioned by the FBI about why so many people were using her number, and she eventually got a new one.