Why Is My Prospective Employer Conducting a Social Security Number Trace?

Why Is My Prospective Employer Conducting a Social Security Number Trace
April 25, 2023

You applied for a job, and the company has decided to consider your application seriously. Naturally, you expect the following steps to be an interview, background check, maybe a drug test. But what comes with the background check?

A common first step in background checks is tracing your Social Security Number (SSN). Questions may form when hearing about this trace, such as “What is this and why?”

Employers conduct an SSN trace for many reasons, but the primary concern is verifying the validity of the Social Security Number. The employer will likely review this before conducting other checks, such as criminal background or credit checks. However, the SSN trace does not confirm that you provided a number belonging to you. 

Instead, it looks for discrepancies. For example, it would check for consistency between your birth date and the SSN’s issue date. Employers use this information to avoid identity issues before moving forward with the employment process.

They also look at the information they obtain from the SSN trace to decide if they want to perform any additional checks. For instance, if the employer finds that you had a maiden name or used an alias, they could decide to run checks on these names. Or, if they find additional addresses you lived at, they may want to check the criminal and motor vehicle records in these areas.

Information Provided in Social Security Traces

An SSN trace confirms the validity of your Social Security Number and also provides some general information about you. As such, it will inform your prospective employer of the SSN’s issue year and which state issued it. It also reveals the names, current addresses, and past addresses associated with it.

In addition, SSN traces determine whether the number matches your name and birth date. This determination uses a database search. Data in this search typically come from schools, credit card companies, utilities, and other sources that record your Social Security Number.

Final Thoughts

An SSN trace confirms the validity of your Social Security Number and provides some basic information about you. Generally, you do not have to worry about SSN tracing because it is a common step in the background check. 

However, if you worry about what employers may see in the background report, consider running a self-background check. Running a self-check allows you to see what is in your background report before your employer sees it. In addition, you can correct any errors or consider how to explain any negative information before an employer runs a background check.

Get a head start on your next job opportunity by running a self background check and discovering the status of your online reputation.