Skip to content

The SSN Check: What It Is and Why It’s Essential for Your Screening Process


In today’s recruitment market, making the right employment decisions is not just about finding qualified candidates; it's about safeguarding your company’s integrity and reputation by hiring trustworthy individuals. With the ever-present risk of identity theft or fraudulent application practices, ensuring that you hire reliable staff has never been more crucial. In fact, studies report that since the pandemic, there has been a roughly 92% increase in candidate fraud.

This is where the importance of Social Security Number (SSN) checks comes into play. At Authentica, we understand that being able to rely on your workforce and do honest business is absolutely paramount to your success. Our wide array of background screening services, one of which is comprehensive SSN checks, provide the peace of mind you need to make informed and confident hiring decisions. Below, we’ll cover what an SSN check is, what it entails, and why it should be an indispensable part of your hiring process.

What Is an SSN Check?

An SSN check is a part of the background screening process that helps verify the authenticity of an individual’s Social Security Number. This check serves multiple purposes:

  • Verification of Identity

The SSN check ensures that the SSN provided by the applicant matches the name and date of birth on record with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This confirmation helps prevent identity fraud and ensures the individual is who they claim to be. At Authentica, we use advanced verification systems to cross-reference SSNs with SSA records, providing you with the most accurate and reliable identity verification.

  • Employment Eligibility:

Verifying SSNs confirms that the individual is authorized to work in the United States. This is a critical step in complying with federal regulations, such as those enforced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Authentica’s platform integrates seamlessly with the E-Verify system, ensuring that your hiring process meets all legal requirements and helps you avoid potential fines and penalties.

  • Background Information:

An SSN check can uncover additional background information, such as credit history and criminal records. This information is vital for positions that require a high level of trust or involve handling sensitive information. 

What Does An SSN Trace Show?

An SSN Trace provides various details related to a candidate’s Social Security number, including:

  • Verification of whether the number is a valid SSN currently in use
  • The year and state of issuance
  • Names associated with the SSN, such as maiden names and aliases
  • Recent address history linked to the SSN

It's important to note that the results of an SSN Trace can vary depending on the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) conducting the search. Different CRAs have access to different data sources, which can lead to variations in the information returned by the SSN Trace.

However, while SSN Traces are a valuable starting point in the background check process, they are not exhaustive. For instance, an SSN Trace does not verify the owner of the SSN; it only confirms its validity and usage. Due to these limitations, employers should consider expanding their screening process with additional background checks to obtain a more comprehensive view of the candidate.

Why Is an SSN Check Essential?

Conducting an SSN check as part of your background screening process offers several invaluable benefits:

  • Vital First-Step in Identity Verification

SSN Trace reports provide employers with additional, less publicly available information about a candidate, aiding in more comprehensive background checks. Consequently, an SSN Trace often serves as a crucial initial step in the pre-employment screening process.

  • Flag Potential Identity Issues

Background check providers frequently use SSN Traces to verify the validity of an SSN and ensure the information associated with it matches the candidate's submitted details. SSN Trace reports can confirm if the provided SSN is active and if it corresponds to the correct name. Discrepancies in this information could indicate identity theft or errors in identity verification.

  • Confirm Correct SSN Information

An SSN Trace helps ensure that the background screening results accurately correspond to your candidate, avoiding confusion with someone who has a similar name and date of birth. Incorrectly matching a Social Security number could result in denying a job to a qualified candidate or causing time-consuming disputes, potentially delaying your hiring process.

  • Obtain Legal Context for Other Searches

The results of an SSN Trace can reveal that a candidate has resided in multiple locations over recent years (usually within the last seven years). Employers can use this information to choose to conduct additional searches, such as state or county criminal record checks.

Partner with Authentica for Reliable Background Screening

Incorporating SSN checks into your hiring process is essential for protecting your business and ensuring that you hire the right candidates. At Authentica, we are committed to providing top-notch background screening services that meet the needs of businesses in Rochester, NY, and beyond. Our advanced verification systems, seamless integration with legal compliance tools, and comprehensive background screening solutions make us the ideal partner for your recruitment system.

Ready to make informed hiring decisions and build a trustworthy team? Contact Authentica today and let us help you with your background screening process. Visit to learn more about our services and get started.