One of the most common questions among HR professionals is: What really is the Social Security Trace?
Good question. Weâ€™re glad you asked because it is important to know what the â€œSocial Traceâ€ does and what it doesnâ€™t do.
It DOES find addresses and aliases. It DOES NOT verify your applicantâ€™s identity with the Government, even though it uses the government issued Social Security Number for part of the search. We will cover how to use the I-9 verification process to â€œmatch upâ€ the Social Security Number with your applicantâ€™s name in the next newsletter.
The â€œSocial Traceâ€ takes the information found in the credit headers of the three major credit bureaus and â€œbounces it offâ€ 400 separate PRIVATE data bases. Hereâ€™s the information that can be returned:
- Previous names, AKAs, alias names, misspelled names, and changed identity.
- Whether the Social Security Number is a valid number, when it was issued and what state it was issued in. This is based upon how the Social Security Administration classifies its numbering system, and not based on applicantâ€™s data.
- Whether the person with that number has been reported as deceased.
- Additional addresses where the applicant has lived or might be living now.
- Other names that could be associated with a particular Social Security Number.
- Extraneous â€œjunk dataâ€ that can be ignored.
This information can provide the HR Professional with additional addresses to search for possible past criminal activity and other names that may have been used in committing a crime.
Expanding searches to undisclosed counties â€“ where all but federal court information is stored â€“ and to undisclosed identities can help provide a more complete Background Screening Report.
At ESR, we provide the Social Security Number Trace along with examination of the â€œSocial Traceâ€ by our in-house experts to help determine whether any of the names on the trace are associated with your applicant.