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Do Employers Need Social Security Number For Background Check

Use Instant Checkmate To Run A People Search To Find A Background Report

Do you need a Social Security Number (SSN) to run a Background Check?

Are you ready to learn the information that may be out there with a background report? Instant Checkmate is a simple tool that you can quickly use to get this information.

What is Instant Checkmate? It is an online tool you can use to search for information about people based on what is available in the public record. Because this information is publicly available, it is accessible to anyone. Instant Checkmate quickly finds it and compiles it into a report you can easily read to gather the information you need.

Bankruptcy Lien And Judgment Search

You can receive information about the applicants financial history through a bankruptcy, lien and judgment search. If the applicant did not pay income tax, was sued and lost in court for non-payment of rent or credit, the court will issue a judgment in favor of the government, creditor, lender or collector. Those records will appear in a search. You will not see the applicants history of credit card payment but you will see their negative financial history. Bankruptcy, liens and judgments are big events in someones financial history. These civil searches are more revealing than their payment history on a credit card. So even if your applicant does not have a SSN, you can still do your due diligence and receive reporting on their financial condition.

Tips For Avoiding Scammers

Scammers often ask for Social Security numbers as part of a fake job application or as part of the hiring process for a job that doesn’t exist.

  • Real employers will never ask you to send them money as part of a job application. You will not be asked to buy a kit, software, or materials for a job.
  • If an employer you have never worked with or never heard of gives you a check, it is likely also a scam. Tear up the check and cease communication with the company.
  • Definitely do not email your Social Security number to any prospective employeror to anyone.
  • Avoid sharing any personal information beyond your contact information. Do not include, for example, your drivers license number and/or credit card information.

The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own states laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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Is A Social Security Number Needed For A Backgroundcheck

Many employers wonder, Is a social security number needed for a background check? Many of them are surprised to learn that the answer is no.

Criminal background checks do not require a social security number. Instead, they rely on name, address, and date of birth. However, there are cases where a social security number may be necessary to determine who the results are about. For instance, if a father and son live in the same home and have the same name, a social security number can determine which party has a criminal record.

You also dont need a social security number to perform a search about an applicantsfinancial history. You can perform a public record search to find information about an applicants economic history. Bankruptcies, liens, tax-related judgments and other financial issues are public records. Additionally, if you perform credit checks on applicants, most credit bureaus can perform those with the same information needed for a criminal background check.

Why Do You Need An Ssn For A Background Check


The information you glean from SSN checks and traces is useful for several reasons and can ultimately contribute to stronger, safer, and further-reaching background check processes. The reasons to run an SSN background check include:

  • Checking a Social Security Number against SSA databases helps verify an individuals identity. This check can send up red flags if the candidate has committed or is committing identity theft. At the same time, it makes it simpler to match criminal records to a specific individual, which is not always easy when youre operating based on a name.

  • A list of aliases is useful for conducting a more thorough criminal background check. Since criminal records are associated with names, someone can change their name to avoid being flagged by a background check. Using an SSN to match criminal records to an alias produces more thorough background searches.

  • Address histories are exceedingly helpful in widening the scope of a background check. Most criminal convictions are filed at the county level, which means county criminal searches are a common first step to finding a candidates criminal history. By telling you where a candidate has lived in the past, an SSN background check tells you where to order additional searches.

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What Information Do You Need To Do A Background Check Without A Social Security Number

Instant Checkmate makes it possible to run a background check with just the persons full name. You can potentially have greater success finding a background report if you have additional information such as their city, state, age and middle initial. With this, most people can start a background check using Instant Checkmate.

That said, additional information also helps you determine which of the results are the person youre looking for, as many people have the same name or might spell their name differently than you suspect. This is especially important when you are looking up a person with a common name like John Smith or Jane Turner. In general, the more information you have, the better your potential results will be.

People are often more willing to give you this type of information if they are going to go on a date with you or sell you something because these identifiers can be less of a risk for identity theft. You may also be able to find this information on your own without directly asking the person.

If you know a persons name and location, you can perform a background check using Instant Checkmate.

It Can Determine Applicable Criminal Record Searches

Information returned from a SSN trace can be used to determine applicable criminal record searches. It is helpful to think of the SSN trace as a guide or an arrow it points to many other possible sources of information about a candidate. Whereas a single criminal records search will deliver results for a given name, a SSN trace amplifies those criminal search results by providing all the names and addresses for a specific SSN. That additional information can be used to conduct a more in-depth search of criminal record databases, possibly yielding a more complete search result.

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What Does An Employment Background Check Show

People often wonder what actually shows up on a background check. The answer is that it depends on which type of search you order, since there are several different sets of records and data to pull from. Generally speaking, a background check for employment may show identity verification, employment verification, credit history, drivers history, criminal records, education confirmation, and more.

Employers gather a wealth of information in order to evaluate a candidates character and help protect against the wrong hire. Read on to learn the various types of background checks for employment, what they may show, and why they matter.

What Kind Of Background Information Can You Get Without Social Security

Employee Background Checks: Know Your Rights | Federal Trade Commission

There is no need for a SSN for criminal background checks. Name, date of birth, and address are used to search for them. It is always a good idea to use a social security number to assist with properly identifying an applicant before running searches on him/her. However, a criminal record search does not require a Social Security number.

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Does Etsy Ask For Social Security Number

Etsy requires your social security number because they will issue you a 1099-K and report your profits to the IRS if you make a specific amount of money each year. Your SSN is also required by Etsy so that you can keep track of your earnings and have the information you need for filing your company taxes.

Should I Ever Include My Social Security Number On My Resume Or An Application Form

Short answer: No.

Do not place your SSN on your resume. Identity theft is a concern, and you should carefully guard access to this number.

Scammers could ask for SSN as part of a fake job application.

Even an employer with a legitimate need for your SSN should not collect this on an application form.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management : It is not unlawful for employers to request an SSN on an application form however employers should request SSN only when absolutely necessary, such as in conjunction with a background check, completing a W-4, or enrolling an employee into benefits plans. Therefore the SSN should be collected separately from an application form where it will only be seen and accessed when necessary. An application form may be seen by individuals who do not need the SSN. About.com: Social Security Numbers on Job Applications.

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Do You Really Need To See The Card

Employers often ask to see an employees Social Security card. The Internal Revenue ServicesPublication 15 , Employers Tax Guide, states, You should ask your employee toshow you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. But,do you really need to see the card? While not required, SSA provides a service for employers to verify aname and SSN for wage reporting purposes when you want additional assurance of an employees correctname and SSN.

Since 1936, Social Security has issued over 30 different versions of the Social Security number cardwhich makes it difficult to recognize a valid card. Sometimes when you ask an employee to show you theircard the card is not available. In either case, you dont have to send them to a local Social Securityoffice. Consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service which allows registeredemployers to quickly verify whether a persons name and SSN match Social Securitys records. Itsaves you and the employee time.

How Can I Make Money Without Ssn


While most companies need a social security number, you may supplement your income by doing odd jobs such as mowing lawns, babysitting, shoveling snow, walking pets, or doing minor repairs. Distribute fliers across your community to promote your service. You might also ask your friends and relatives whether theyd be willing to employ you for odd tasks.

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What Questions Should You Ask Before Giving Out Your Social Security Number

Even if youre requested for your phone number, you should be cautious about giving it out. You should inquire as to why your phone number is required, how it will be used, and what would occur if you decline. The answers to these questions might assist you in determining whether or not you wish to share your Social Security number.

How Do I Know If My Ssn Is Being Used

Visit www.identitytheft.gov/ or call 1-877-IDTHEFT . Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/statement/ to get a copy of your Social Security Administration earnings and benefits statement or to see whether someone has exploited your Social Security number to gain a job or avoid paying taxes.

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What Is A Social Security Number

A social security number is a nine-digit number that is issued by the US government to all US citizens and eligible residents.

An SSN is used by the government to keep track of your earnings, how long you have worked, and any benefits you might be entitled to.

Once you are issued with an SSN, you will use it for life. The only exception to this is if you fall victim to identity theft when the government may, in some circumstances, agree to issue you with a new one.

In more recent times, your SSN has become an integral part of accessing a whole host of other services including obtaining credit, opening a bank account, obtaining private insurance, buying a home or a car, and much more.

One important point to note is that a persons SSN is not a matter of public record. While some peoples SSN will show up on a background check, it will not have been sourced from any public database.

It Can Uncover Fraudulent And Illegal Activity


Conducting a SSN trace can uncover fraudulent and illegal acts. It can reveal individuals who may be using someone elses SSN to hide criminal activity, a revoked or suspended license, or other sanctions barring them from working in your industry. That kind of fraud may be more common than you think. Some cybersecurity experts believe that most SSNs have been exposed on the dark web or compromised in some way. Conducting a SSN trace is a good way to uncover instances of inappropriate use of a SSN, such as:

  • A fake SSN that has never been issued
  • A SSN that belongs to a deceased individual
  • A SSN that has been used by multiple people

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When Can Employers Ask For Your Social Security Number

Employers are permitted to ask applicants for their Social Security numbers in all states. Several states, including New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, require employers to put safeguards like encryption in place to protect the privacy of job seekers.

However, the Society for Human Resource Management advises employers to request Social Security numbers only when absolutely necessary. In practice, this means that many employers may choose to delay the request until later in the process.

Check with your State Department of Labor to learn about any restrictions for local employers requesting your Social Security number.

Why Do Employers Ask For Social Security Numbers

This answer, of course, depends on the employer. More often than not, employers will ask for a candidates SSN to save time down the road when its time to complete onboarding documentation, and most importantly, to conduct a thorough background check.

Another common reason employers ask for Social Security numbers is to simply confirm the candidates identity and work authorization before moving any further through the hiring and screening process. Currently, employers in all states are allowed to ask for applicants SSNs, but whether they choose to ask is up to each individual company.

Once consent is provided by the candidate, a Social Security number and date of birth is required to run the background check and match the candidate to their personal information. Further, its used for an SSN Trace, which is part of a more comprehensive background check process that includes state and/or county criminal background checks. An SSN Trace can:

  • Assess whether the SSN is valid
  • Confirm that the SSN matches the candidate-provided name and date of birth
  • Provide associated addresses to inform which states and counties should be searched in a more comprehensive criminal background check report
  • Reveal additional candidate names that can also be used in more in-depth background screenings

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Conducting A Background Check

Another situation in which you may need to request a Social Security number from a job candidate is when you are completing a background check. Many employers opt to contract with a third-party firm that specializes in this kind of research. In most cases, the firm will request the Social Security number of the applicant so that it can perform a in addition to other investigations, which may include a review of any arrest or conviction records, as well as reference verification.

Federal law requires that you notify the applicant of your plans to perform a background check in a separate document from a job application or other forms. In addition, you will also need to obtain written permission from the applicant.Your background check provider may supply you with these forms, which will typically ask for personal information from applicants, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, names of previous employers and, in some cases, home addresses for the past several years.

Individual Tax Identification Number

What if the Social Security number doesnt match records?

What if the applicant provides an ITIN instead of the SSN on the application? If an applicant used an Individual Tax Identification Number to apply for credit or a loan, those tradelines may become part of the applicants credit history. However, without a SSN, most often, the credit bureaus will not recognize the ITIN and no records will be reported.

The ITIN is issued for tax purposes and was not meant to facilitate private commerce. ITINs are granted to individuals who are not qualified to receive a SSN. Some landlords or property managers include an ITIN in a credit report request without realizing it is not a SSN. Both the SSN and ITIN include 9 digits. However, an ITIN begins with the number 9. SSNs do not begin with 9.

But what if the applicant does not have a SSN? How can you get a background screening without a social security number? Here is the good news.

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Employees Without Social Security Numbers

Although almost all employers can go years without seeing this situation, and most employers never encounter it at all, every once in a while, an employer might run across an applicant or a new hire who claims not to have a social security number, or else refuses to disclose it. Now, the situation could be as simple as that of a person who is newly arrived in this country and does not yet have a social security number, in which case the employer can give the applicant, if hired, or the new hire the basic information on how to apply to the Social Security Administration for a number , and proceed with the I-9 process as usual . However, the situation is more complex if the applicant / new hire claims not to have a social security number, or refuses to disclose it, because of a religious or other form of conscientious objection.

Many employment-related laws call for new hires and other employees to furnish a social security number to the employer, and SSNs are often requested in a number of other situations that affect the workplace – following is a list of the most common situations in which SSNs will be requested:

  • Job applications
  • Background check consent forms
  • New hire report
  • Professional and other occupational license applications and renewals
  • Permits needed by the employee or the company for the job
  • Driver’s license application
  • Some benefit applications and sign-up forms

Source: M-274, I-9 Handbook for Employers )

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