Navigating the Legal and Ethical Considerations of SSN-Based Background Checks

Share Now!!

Explore the intricate landscape of SSN-based background checks in this insightful blog . Delve into the legal and ethical considerations surrounding the use of Social Security Numbers in background screening processes.
background search by social security number

It’s a regular practice for companies to run ssn background checks these days to ensure a safe environment. Social Security Number (SSN) checks are a crucial part of this process. However, understanding the legal aspects is key to prevent any potential issues.


Here at Securecheck360, we’re experts in delivering reliable, fast turnaround and affordable Employment Background Screening Services, serving businesses of all sizes across the globe. Our customized solutions are finely tuned to meet the unique requirements of small, mid-sized, and large organizations. We’re dedicated to equipping companies with the vital tools and insights they need to make well-informed hiring choices. As one of the leading background verification companies, we’re committed to supporting even small businesses as trusted background check companies for small businesses to ensure they have the confidence to build the best teams for their success.

To know more about our services, book your free demo today!

What is an SSN Trace?

When we talk about an SSN trace, we’re referring to digging into the database to find details about a candidate’s reported Social Security number. It’s not the final call for hiring decisions but rather the initial step in a thorough background check process.

What an SSN Trace Does?

An SSN trace spills the beans on whether the Social Security number is legit, issued, and matches the applicant’s name and birthdate. It’s like peeling back the layers to spot any inconsistencies in the details provided by the applicant.

Think of it as the first step in a broader background check adventure, where we delve into other areas and past names for a more complete picture.

What an SSN Trace Doesn’t Do

While an SSN trace can give you the names and addresses linked to a Social Security number, it doesn’t guarantee that the number truly belongs to your applicant. Errors or fraudulent activities might lead to false associations of addresses or names with the applicant’s Social Security number.

Keep in mind, an SSN trace won’t spill the beans on an applicant’s education or employment history. To get the full scoop, it’s essential to carry out additional searches for a thorough verification of the reported information.

Why Should Employers Include an SSN Trace in Background Checks?

1. Identify County and State Criminal Databases to Search:

An SSN trace is like your personal detective, handing you a list of names and addresses linked to the applicant’s SSN history. It’s a nifty shortcut, steering you straight to the places and names you need to investigate.

This valuable info isn’t just for show—it guides you to other databases in different states and counties. That way, you’re all set to uncover a thorough criminal history and leave no stone unturned.

2. Reveal Discrepancies:

Running a Social Security number trace is like leveling up your background investigation game.

If the SSN trace flags any differences between what the candidate says and what it uncovers, that’s your cue to dig a bit deeper. Unravel the reasons behind the inconsistency and make sure you’ve got the real story from the applicant.

3. Expand Searches Based on Name Changes:

People switch up their names for all sorts of reasons, and it’s pretty normal for an applicant to have gone by a different name in the past.

Here are a few reasons why someone might have changed their name:

  • Marriage
  • Welcomed a new family member through adoption
  • Fixed up some birth certificate bloopers
  • Embraced a new identity after landing in the U.S.
  • Kept a previous life on the down-low

When you roll out an SSN trace, it’s like pulling back the curtain on an applicant’s old names and aliases. This treasure trove of info doesn’t just spice up your criminal records search—it’s your golden ticket to exploring education and employment history, and verifying professional licenses too.

4. Obtain a Complete Address History:

Sometimes, candidates might miss a few of their past addresses when they’re tackling those employment background screening forms.

But fear not! When you run an SSN trace, it’s like uncovering a hidden treasure map of addresses tied to a candidate’s Social Security number. It fills in those blanks seamlessly.

If the revealed address history turns out to be more extensive than what the candidate spilled the beans on, it’s like a blinking sign for the screening analyst. “Hey, there’s more to explore beyond the candidate’s current pad!”

And when there are mysterious gaps in a candidate’s address history, the SSN trace report is your friendly nudge to kick off some extra detective work. Time to dive into other state and county databases and unveil the full story of where the applicant has set up shop.

5. Uncover Fraud:

The magic of an SSN trace goes beyond just revealing past addresses—it’s your superhero cape against potential fraudsters.

Imagine this: someone trying to sneak into your industry by using someone else’s Social Security number. Sneaky, right? It could be to mask a suspended license or a conviction that’s a no-go for your company under the rulebook.

The SSN trace superhero steps in to uncover fraud like:

  • Cooked-up or fake Social Security numbers
  • Numbers that belong to folks six feet under
  • Numbers juggling between multiple users

These findings could hint at a whole bag of tricks—false identity, identity theft, or other fishy business.

How To Conduct an SSN Trace Background Check?

When it comes to running an SSN trace background check, there are two paths to tread: the DIY route or teaming up with a trusted background check provider. Let’s break it down:

1. Do-it-Yourself Method:

Some employers opt for a hands-on approach, using the Social Security Administration’s online verification service. This free service checks if an applicant’s name, date of birth, and SSN align with the Administration’s records. However, it falls short on revealing address history, previous names, or guiding you to other info sources.

But hold on, there’s a catch. If you plan to do these searches in bulk, the DIY route could burn a hole in your pocket—enrollment fees can soar up to $5,000.

2. Partner With a Reliable Background Check Provider:

Enter the hero of the hour—reliable background check providers like Securecheck360. We bring the A-team of resources and cutting-edge tech to the SSN trace game. Swiftly compiling info, we don’t just stop at the basics. We dive into additional searches, offering a 360-degree view of your applicants’ backgrounds—employment and education verification, professional licenses, and more.

With us, you’re not just getting accurate reports; you’re getting peace of mind, knowing it’s all legally compliant. 


In the ever-evolving landscape of background checks, the significance of the Social Security Number (SSN) trace cannot be overstated. It acts as a compass, guiding employers through the intricate maze of applicant details, providing not just addresses but a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s history.

As companies prioritize safety through background checks, the SSN trace stands out as a vital tool, offering insights that go beyond the surface. Employers must recognize its capabilities, leverage its strengths, and, when venturing into the realm of background checks, consider trusted partners like Securecheck360 for a holistic and legally compliant approach.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit