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
- Understand your candidate's experience
A Social Security Number (SSN) Trace searches databases (including lending institutions, utilities, schools, and credit card companies) for a name and Social Security Number. The trace returns jurisdictions in which a match is found, and reports any alternative names (aliases or AKAs) that are found as well.
To run an SSN Trace, Checkr submits the candidate's Social Security Number to a data provider, who then generates a report through a credit bureau. This report returns a list of known names and addresses for the SSN, compiled from credit and banking history for the given SSN.
SSN Traces are used as a “pointer” to possible criminal records. The address and alias information returned is used to determine which counties and other databases should be searched for additional public records.
The SSN Trace can provide the following information:
- An idea of whether the SSN provided is a valid or invalid number (for example, whether it appears on the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File).
- Whether the SSN has been used by multiple candidates.
- A list of previous names (which may be birth names as well as aliases).
- Locations the person linked to the number has lived (based on credit cards, banking, or other information).
An SSN Trace does not validate that the person entering the information is who they claim to be. An 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), but an SSN Trace is not an Identity Verification. For more information, please see SSN Traces vs. Identity Verification.
Checkr's product incorporates SSN field controls designed to not accept SSNs with the following characteristics:
- SSNs without exactly 9 numeric characters
- SSNs that start with 666 (666-34-3768)
- SSNs that start with 9 (967-65-4325)
- SSNs that are a single repeated digit (111-11-1111)
- SSNs that are sequential digits (123-45-6789)
The SSN Trace is included in Checkr’s basic report package, which includes SSN Trace, Sex Offender Registry Check, Global Watchlist Records Check, and National Criminal Records Check. The SSN Trace cannot be run as a standalone Check.
Candidates will be asked to provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including their full name, date of birth, social security number, email address, and phone number.
They will then be presented and asked to acknowledge receipt of applicable forms and notifications, including Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and an Acknowledgment and Authorization for Background Check.
After the candidate consents, Checkr will initiate the Trace.
If the number appears to be inaccurate (no hits, or death list hit), the candidate will be asked to re-enter their number. In some cases, candidates may be asked to provide a copy of their SSN card, or a letter from the SSA confirming that the number provided does belong to the candidate.
If you've applied for a job and are looking for more information on your background check’s status or progress, please log into the Checkr Candidate Portal.