Social Security Numbers
May 4, 2012 | in Background Check
Social Security Numbers
Most applicants’ know they have to provide a social security number to an employer. The number is required because this is how the IRS will track payments and income.
Some applicants may transpose a number in an attempt to deceive their employer.
In order to check the validity of a ss# number go to http://www.ssnvalidator.com/.
This source will provide whether or not the number has been issued, the date of issue and the state.
From there you must also check to see what the applicant’s address history is based on the provided number. Which brings us to the next search the social security trace.
What is a social security trace and credit report?
A social security trace is a report that will return all current and reported addresses for the last 7 to 10 years on a specific individual based on his or her social security number.
If there are alternate names (aliases or also known as [AKA] these are reported also.
Depending on your need this information it is usually available through subscription with an online service which provides SS# traces.
Any pre-employment screening company should have access to all three sources of information and achieved data.
Use caution though as the searches vary in scope and accuracy. Most of the online “instant” search or “locate” services have purchased the
archived address data from one of the major credit bureaus and offer the information to anyone with few dollars.
If the company that you use provides this data to anyone with a credit card it would be wise to partner with a company that restricts their data to users with a permissible purpose.
While it is still being sold on the open market it is definitely an area where future legislation will restrict it
The original source data for all SS# traces comes from the three credit bureaus and other private data. To obtain a full consumer credit report for pre-employment purposes
employers must be operating from a commercial address along with a business license. These restrictions are a result of the tightening of access by the
credit bureaus to prevent fraud and identity theft. If the private family employer is unable to qualify for a full credit report families may consider asking the
applicant to provide a report with their signed release especially if the employee will have access to a spending account or petty cash.
How do I read (interpret) the SSN trace report?
The SSN trace report is derived from credit bureau records and usually follows a standard format however there are variations based on the provider.
The sources include applicant provided information such as applications for utilities (telephone, electric), credit checks for loans and/or credit cards,
and qualification for rental agreements. Below please find an example.
|NAME||ADDRESS||DATE ENTERED IN CREDIT RECORD||COUNTY|
|CA-MONICA K. QUINN||9874 HALL AVE TARZANA , CA 91356||03/2003||LOS ANGELES|
|FA-MONICA QUINN||5874 BIG CANYON BLVD VALLEY VILLAGE , CA 91607||04/2002||LOS ANGELES|
|FA-M. QUINN||8795 MONITOR BLVD SAN FRANCISCO , CA 94121||05/2000||SAN FRANCISCO|
|FA-MONICA QUINN||7854 MINOT WAY ALAMEDA , CA 94501||01/1999||ALAMEDA|
|FA-MONICA QUINN||77874 PRINCESS STUDIO CITY , CA 91604||05/1998||LOS ANGELES|
FN- MONICA COMPO
SSN ISSUED 1982; IL
Abbreviations are often associated with the results. They are:
CA = current address
FA = former address
FN = former name
A family or agency doing a background check on Ms. Quinn above, in order to do a thorough job, would be advised to order criminal checks in Los Angeles, Alameda, and San Francisco counties.
A search in any one of these jurisdictions would not necessarily return any criminal activity that occurred in the others. Additionally, there appears to an alias or FN former name
(Compo) with a state of Illinois as the state where the SS was issued. These clues should lead you to further investigate the applicant’s history. This illustrates the importance of
the SSN trace to determine where the individual may have resided, worked or gone to school in the last 7 years.
SS# format XXX XX XXXX
The first three digits of a social security number designate the state of issuance. The chart on the next page will further explain the format:
001-003 New Hampshire
035-039 Rhode Island
050-134 New York
135-158 New Jersey
232-236 West Virginia
237-246 North Carolina
247-251 South Carolina
501-502 North Dakota
503-504 South Dakota
525,585 New Mexico
577-579 District of Columbia
580 Virgin Islands
580-584 Puerto Rico
586 Guam Am/Somoa
Update 2011: The Social Security Administration (SSA) is changing the way Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are issued. This change is referred to as “randomization.”
The SSA is developing this new method to help protect the integrity of the SSN. SSN Randomization will also extend the longevity of the nine-digit SSN nationwide.
The SSA began assigning the nine-digit SSN in 1936 for the purpose of tracking workers’ earnings over the course of their lifetimes to pay benefits. Since its inception,
the SSN has always been comprised of the three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number, and ending with the four-digit serial number. Since 1972, the SSA has issued
Social Security cards centrally and the area number reflects the state, as determined by the ZIP code in the mailing address of the application.
There are approximately 420 million numbers available for assignment. However, the current SSN assignment process limits the number of SSNs that are available for
issuance to individuals by each state. Changing the assignment methodology will extend the longevity of the nine digit SSN in all states. On July 3, 2007,
the SSA published its intent to randomize the nine-digit SSN in the Federal Register Notice, Protecting the Integrity of Social Security Numbers [Docket No. SSA 2007-0046].
SSN randomization will affect the SSN assignment process in the following ways:
- It will eliminate the geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN, currently referred to as the area number, by no longer allocating the area numbers
for assignment to individuals in specific states.
It will eliminate the significance of the highest group number and, as a result, the High Group List will be frozen in time and can be used for validation of
SSNs issued prior to the randomization implementation date.
- Previously unassigned area numbers will be introduced for assignment excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999.
These changes to the SSN may require systems and/or business process updates to accommodate SSN randomization.
Cite: SS Website on randomization
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