MADISON (WKOW) -- Your social security number: now on sale for $5.95.
It's legal. And it's extremely easy.
27 News uncovered a backdoor way to dig up virtually anyone's social security number using public mortgage documents and deed records.
Using a government website open to anyone, we paid $5.95 and found the social security numbers for several public figures in Dane County.
Mortgage documents and other bank records are public information. Many of them contain social security numbers, names, and addresses visible for anyone to see.
Dane County's register of deeds, Kristi Chlebowski, showed us how easy it is.
We sat in the City-County Building, using a public computer, and scrolled through the private financial documents displaying social security numbers for hundreds of Wisconsin residents.
Dane County, like some others, are installing software to redact the social security numbers from county records. The software scans the documents for social security numbers automatically, so residents don't need to do anything.
In other counties, you need to proactively call the county and ask them to black out your social security number.
Rock County tells us it's also looking to someday install redaction software.
The register of deeds says the software will be in place soon. She hopes all social security numbers will be redacted by the fall.
State law in Wisconsin requires documents filed in 2006 or later not to have social security numbers. However, documents filed before that may still contain them. The law was not retroactive.
Some counties, like Dane, say they're redacting the numbers from old records anyway.
Until then, your private information could be up for grabs, for only $5.95.
Email Dan Cassuto at firstname.lastname@example.org