WASHINGTON – To help reduce incidents of identify theft and fraud in its mortgage insurance programs, the Federal Housing Administration has begun applying system edits to validate the issuance of Social Security Numbers used by borrowers obtaining FHA-insured mortgages. The edits are applied as soon as the mortgage lender enters a borrower’s SSN into the FHA Connection. According to a release from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHA’s edits will validate the prefix combination of the SSN using information provided by the Social Security Administration. Once the SSN is entered into the FHA Connection, the SSN is validated against the Social Security Administration’s prefix list. If the entry is found on the list, then the SSN will be considered as issued and processing will continue. If the entry is not on the list of SSA issued numbers, processing will immediately stop and a message will be issued that the Social Security Number was not issued by the Social Security Administration. Lenders will then have to either correct the SSN so processing can continue or cancel the loan application. The procedure applies to all mortgage insurance applications, including streamlined refinances. In addition to the prefix validation, the FHA on March 1 also implemented a SSN check using the SSA’s Death Master File which lists SSNs belonging to deceased persons. This file is updated monthly with data obtained from the Social Security Administration.

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