It is common practice to run a background check when hiring new employees. While obtaining Social Security numbers for the purpose of conducting a background investigation is entirely legal, small business owners should be aware that these numbers are delicate and should be handled carefully to protect an applicant’s privacy. Here is what to keep in mind on a background check with Social Security Number.
Personal Identification Numbers
A Social Security number, also known as an “SSN,” is a nine-digit number that the Social Security Administration issues to employees in the United States. The number’s main purpose is to keep track of a person’s payroll contributions to Medicare and Social Security so that the worker can receive benefits after becoming disabled or leaving the workforce. Other governmental organizations, like the Internal Revenue Service, also use it to identify people.
Social Security numbers were frequently used as identification numbers in workplaces and educational institutions a few decades ago. However, this practice was abandoned in many places due to growing concerns about identity theft. In fact, the Social Security Administration and other organizations that support the general public advise people to exercise caution when disclosing their Social Security Numbers.
SSN checks, also known as social security background checks, are reporting services that demand applicants supply their Social Security numbers as an extra level of identity confirmation. An SSN trace, a related service, checks the validity of a Social Security Number and compiles a list of addresses, names, and the birthday connected to that number. Background checks don’t always require applicants to give their Social Security numbers.
A lot of employers decide to enter into a contract with a company that specializes in this kind of research. The firm will typically ask for the applicant’s Social Security number so that it can run a credit check in addition to other investigations, which might include checking any arrest or conviction records and checking references.
According to federal law, you must inform the applicant in a document separate from a job application or other forms of your intentions to conduct a background check. You must also get the applicant’s written consent in order to proceed. These forms, which typically request personal information from applicants such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and names of references, may be provided to you by your background investigation provider.
An SSN Trace is a database search that yields basic details about a candidate’s Social Security number. This data may come from lending institutions, utilities, schools, and credit card companies. This information includes the year the Social Security Administration issued the number, the state in which it was issued, the names and current and previous addresses connected to the number, as well as the year the number was issued. An SSN verification also verifies that an SSN number is legitimate and that it corresponds to the candidate’s name and birthdate.
An employer or consumer reporting agency (CRA) can obtain preliminary confirmation of a candidate’s identifying information by running an SSN Trace prior to conducting a criminal background check, credit history check, or other screening. Employers can use this information to determine which county or state criminal record databases to search for further screenings.
How To Conduct A SSN Trace History Check
Working with a certified CRA, such as GoodHire, directscreening, datacheckinc, sterling, backgroundchecks will make conducting a background check with an SSN the simplest process possible. For employers, working with a CRA offers a number of advantages. In order to expedite the screening process, they can first access the databases that collect data for SSN Trace background checks.
CRAs may also provide services like identity checks, criminal history, driving record, and credit background checks, employment and education verifications, and more. Comprehensive background screenings that start with SSN Traces can be carried out with their assistance.
A qualified CRA can also aid in obtaining the proper consent to conduct background checks and can help you stay in compliance with FCRA requirements for pre-employment background checks.
Criminal Background Checks
SSNs are not necessary for criminal background checks. They are looked up using their name, birthdate, and address. It is best to properly identify the applicant before the searches are conducted if they have an SSN. However, a criminal records search does not require the SSN. You can report criminal histories without providing your SSN.
The Management of Social Security Numbers
Because Social Security numbers are sensitive information, you must have a procedure in place to safeguard and get rid of this data as needed. Access to these documents should only be permitted when necessary, and they should be kept apart from less sensitive paperwork.
For instance, you might only want senior HR staff to have access to these documents. In addition, there should be a procedure in place for hiring managers and administrative staff to follow in order to safeguard these documents until they are turned over to human resources.
There should also be a procedure in place for shredding documents that contain sensitive employee data once they are no longer required to be kept on file.
These are the details to keep in mind when performing a background check with Social Security Number. Protect yourself and your business by knowing who you have close to you with a Social Security Number search.