Social Security Number (SSN) Trace Searches

The Social Security Number (SSN) Trace searches the national credit bureaus to verify that the Social Security number is valid, matches the legal name given by the candidate, and additionally returns all associated names, aliases, and residential or associated address locations on record. This includes counties in which the candidate previously lived, worked, or conducted financial transactions.  The locations returned from an SSN Trace are also used to direct county-level criminal record searches when a criminal search is purchased in the same order.

The Importance of an SSN Trace

A typical background check includes many different searches, with each view contributing to a picture of your candidate’s history. But where should you look beyond the candidate’s current residence? And what if the candidate’s name changed or was reported differently over time?

A complete SSN trace and address history is vital before you launch more in depth screening. SSN Traces will:

    1. Determine if the SSN is valid and associated with the name and date of birth provided by the candidate.
    2. Inform which searches are needed
    3. Offer additional candidate information, to use for more research

What You'll Learn From an SSN Trace

An SSN Trace provides independent validation plus additional information to run other searches. Specifically, this search shows:

  1. SSN Status: Confirms whether the SSN provided is a valid or in-valid number.
  2. SSN Name: Validates the candidate’s name given matches the social security record.
  3. SSN Issuance: Displays when and where the SSN was issued.
  4. Candidate Names: Provides other names the candidate has used (“aliases”) - including birth, previous legal, maiden, middle and misspelled names, nicknames, or different forms of the name.
  5. Candidate Address History: Furnishes counties the candidate has lived, worked, or had financial transactions.
  6. New location and name information can then be used to run additional searches such as County Criminal Records Searches and alias checks.

What You Should Know About the SSN Trace

The SSN Trace is based on the social security number submitted by the candidate. It makes use of non-confidential “credit header” information, which is captured each time someone uses their social security number to apply for credit (home loan, student loan, cell phone, credit card, rent, etc.).

  1. Don’t use it alone: The SSN Trace is meant to ensure accuracy and effectiveness of other searches. It cannot be used as the basis for any employment decision or for taking any adverse action.
  2. It’s a U.S. check: The SSN Trace doesn’t verify green cards or other non-domestic statuses.
  3. It’s not a credit check: Although the SSN Trace searches credit databases, it does not run a credit check and does not involve credit scores.
  4. Some traces may not return results: Some candidates may have a limited credit history or may have only recently been assigned a social security number.
  5. It doesn’t guarantee identity: A SSN Trace does not validate that the candidate is who they claim to be. SSN Trace finds out if a SSN is valid and matches the name and date of birth provided by the candidate, but if the identity is stolen, the SSN Trace could still come back clear.

The SSN Trace does not verify a candidate's SSN through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Instead, the verification is done through the national credit bureaus.

Reviewing Results

The results tab for SSN Trace displays the status of the check, the SSNs associated data, and the information that was used to verify the SSN. The SSNs associated data consists of the candidate's SSN verification, the candidate's information, and any counties that are associated with the candidate.


If the SSN provided does not match the candidate's details, an alert will be shown under the SSN trace.  Note that in some cases, an SSN Trace alert might be triggered because the candidate mistyped their SSN. In this case, Scout Logic recommends rerunning the background check with the correct SSN, as the data that comes out of this search is often used for other checks within the background report. Having the candidate's correct SSN will help ensure the accuracy of the overall report.