Last updated: December 4, 2023
If you’ve ever worked with debt collections, you realize employers skip trace social security numbers in an effort to track down a customer who owes the company money. That’s because a person’s social security number (SSN) is a key source of identity. Prior to 1986, it wasn’t unusual for people to wait to have their SSN assigned closer to working age. Today it’s a required piece of information for literally everything—opening a bank or credit card account, renting equipment, or seeing your doctor is just the tip of the required information iceberg.
Because our SSN is one of the—if not the—most vital personal records for people living in the United States, many employers are discovering the value of taking the time to skip trace social security numbers before hiring someone to work for their company.
Identify their true identity
The world is a different place than it was even a few decades ago and while there is still plenty of good in it, there are those who believe the darker side of life has gained a sure foothold as well. Some employers are hiring people for sensitive positions and must be able to trust the person they are hiring explicitly. For those, and others who want to be as certain as possible that the person represented on the application is truly who they say they are, a thorough background screening is a great tool to utilize.
Performing a background screening on future hires provides peace of mind for the employer and everyone who works with them. There are many components that make up a background screening. Taking the time to check prior work history is one facet of background screening that many employers handle in-office. Knowing someone has the experience that they claim when working with potentially dangerous equipment or hazardous materials is extremely important!
Of course, it’s just as important to know someone has the teaching credentials they claim, is experienced at working with exotic animals, or is truly drug-free after working through rehab. Actually, the reasons to be certain someone is who they claim are as endless as the types of jobs available in the world.
We want to know the person applying for a position hasn’t misrepresented themselves.
SSN verification versus SSN trace
Verifying someone’s SSN is a free service provided by the government. It determines that someone’s name matches the social security number given as their own. A large number of employers use this service regularly. As a matter of fact, one of the online verification services provided allows employers to immediately verify up to 10 numbers at a time. The other available option allows employers to upload files containing up to 250,000 names and SSNs for overnight processing. The results are almost always received the next business day.
When employers run a skip trace, they’re looking for a more comprehensive report. It’s possible to verify SSNs with the government but because SSN numbers are considered sensitive information, obtaining more thorough information can get tricky. Not to mention, time-consuming! It involves combing through public records which may not always be easy to find—especially when dealing with multiple states!
It might be best to hire a professional rather than digging in on your own. Using the person’s first and last name and the first 3 digits of their SSN, skip tracing companies perform a deep dive into public records.
Types of information received
Using someone’s social security number to complete a background check is going to provide a complete—and sometimes very extensive—personal profile. Public records are the source of most of the information and can provide data that includes:
- Marriage records
- Divorce records
- Birth records
- Bankruptcy details
- A variety of contract details
- Tax liens
- Arrest records
- Criminal records
- Felony data
- Judgments and liens
- Business data
- Property records
- Asset records
- Current and previous addresses
- Cell phone and landline numbers
- Details about relatives
- Aliases, if any
- Email addresses
- Identity theft
Weighed and measured
We hope you never have the misfortune of hiring someone who claimed to be something… or someone… they’re not. Running background checks before you hire new employees is one way to nip trouble in the bud.
While it’s possible to use someone’s social security number to dig up lots of information, taking the time to discover where the data may be stored away can get frustrating. Working with a professional company that has sources of its own to take advantage of may be far less expensive in the long run.