This article will help you:
- Understand what a SSN Trace is and why it’s an important part of a background report
- Follow Checkr's SSN Trace process
A Social Security Number (SSN) Trace searches databases for a name and Social Security Number (including lending institutions, utilities, schools, and credit card companies). The trace returns jurisdictions in which a match is found, and reports any alternative names (aliases or AKAs) that are found as well.
Often, SSN Traces are used as a “pointer” to other possible criminal records. The address and alias information is used to determine which counties and other databases should be searched for additional public records.
The SSN Trace can uncover a candidate’s possible criminal record because it reveals the candidate’s known address history, allowing you to evaluate where to search for criminal records.
A SSN Trace can provide the following information:
- An idea of whether the input SSN is legitimate or fraudulent (for example, whether it appears on the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File)
- Complete address history for the candidate
- A list of previous names (which may be birth names, as well as aliases)
Note: Although a SSN Trace can identify whether the candidate’s SSN appears on the Death Master File (in other words, it belongs to someone who is known to be deceased) or appears to be false (such as 555-55-5555), it does not validate that the person entering the information is whom they claim to be. In other words, a SSN Trace is different from Identity Verification. For more information on this topic, see our article on SSN Traces vs. Identity Verification.
Following is the process that Checkr uses to run a SSN Trace:
- Checkr sends a Social Security Number to our provider
- That provider runs a report through a credit bureau
- The credit bureau returns the list of known names and addresses it has on file for the SSN. This list is compiled from the credit and banking history for that SSN, including credit cards, utility bills, magazine subscriptions, mortgages, and car payments.
- A list of aliases is compiled from this list of name and address pairs