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Social Security Traces

A Social Security Number Trace is crucial for identifying jurisdictional information used in criminal record searches and is normally the first search performed on an applicant. Our Social Security Number Trace identifies prior residences and addresses, and is based upon information found in credit header reports. In conjunction with the information obtained from the applicant, addresses noted on the social security trace report are used to identify jurisdictions to be searched for criminal records. Additionally, AKAs (Also Known As) are also noted which proves helpful in further identifying criminal activity of an individual who uses or has used an alias.

The SSN Trace Report also examines the Social Security Number to ensure that it is within a valid range and identifies the state and year of issuance. The number is also checked against the deceased records of the Social Security Administration, providing protection against SSN fraud.

A Social Security Number Trace can usually provide an accurate representation of a person’s residential history. People with no credit or assets, young applicants or candidates who have a newly issued social security number sometimes do not have a history associated with their social security number. In these cases, the applicant’s current residential data is used to identify jurisdictions that should be searched on the background check.

Where does the residential history on a Social Security Trace come from?

The information on a social security trace comes from a proprietary database. When an individual applies for credit (credit cards, retail store cards), provides personal information to companies (magazine subscriptions, product surveys) or completes online applications, that information is kept and later sold for use in marketing lists, credit reports and databases. This is the same method by which people get on mailing lists or by which they receive credit card offers. The proprietary database contains information from lending institutions, utilities, schools and credit card companies, or any other entity where you are asked to provide your social security number.

Please note, since Crimcheck is not the end user for this information, we cannot directly access the Social Security Administration records. Because the information changes hands so frequently (i.e. if an individual fills out an application by hand and another person then types it in) it is possible for typos, omissions and erroneous information to be present in the database. These anomalies are normally harmless to the candidate, but it can present different move in dates, additional jurisdictions, etc.

Why use a Social Security Number Trace as part of a background check?

The social security number trace identifies jurisdictions that an applicant may have lived. This information allows Crimcheck to determine what county and municipal courts should be searched for criminal records.

Why did the Social Security Number Trace identify an address where the applicant states that they have never lived?

Occasionally there are addresses listed on the social security trace that are not prior addresses of the applicant. This normally occurs because of a simple data entry error by one of the thousands of clerks and operators that handle the data. Searching an additional jurisdiction does not hurt the applicant, but merely provides for a more thorough background check.

What other information can a Social Security Number Trace show?

A social security number trace may identify maiden names, alternate versions of names, and “also known as names”. This can help to identify aliases that could be searched when conducting a criminal search or background check if included in your service package.

How far back do the social security traces go?

There are three ways of looking at this. Generally speaking, social security searches can go as far back as 10 years. However, the traces usually don’t go that far for each applicant or employee.

First of all, how far back a trace goes may be limited by the age of the person being searched. Social Security Numbers are issued when people turn 18. Therefore, the length of time backwards will depend on how long ago the person turned 18. For a person who is 22, for instance, the longest the social security search can go is 4 years.

The second limitation is legal. Most legislations limit the range of background checks to seven years. Anything which happened more than seven years ago isn’t supposed to be used as a basis to make employment decisions. As such, must background checking companies (including Crimcheck) limit searches to within the previous seven years.

Can I have access to the Social Security Trace Report?

Under normal circumstances, the social security search is a step towards performing the background check you requested for. For instance, if you commission a criminal background check, a social security trace informs us which jurisdictions to search for criminal records.

Therefore, in most cases, we don’t give you the social security trace report. We give you the report for the type of check you requested for (e.g. criminal background check). However, if you have a specific need for the report, we can provide it to you.

Basically, the social security trace report is can be availed on request, and subject to certain conditions (more on this below).

How long does a Social Security Trace take?

A social security search normally takes a maximum of one working day. Normally, from the moment the applicant details are entered into our system, it takes a few hours for the trace to return results.

Are there special legal requirements regarding social security traces?

No. There aren’t any legal requirements which apply specifically to social security searches. The same legal guidelines which apply to other kinds of background checks also apply to social security searches.

Therefore, you don’t need to master any new laws in order to conduct social security traces. As long as you follow the guidelines set out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you will be safe from any legal backlash arising from social security traces.

Reach out to Crimcheck to see what options are right for your needs and get a free quote today.

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Comprehensive solutions. Whether a standard hourly pre-employment screen, social security traces, drug tests or civil litigation checks. The Crimcheck team are experts in a variety of services and PBSA accredited.

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