Social Security & Identity Verification

A Social Security Number search is an FCRA compliant, standard and critical part of an effective check and the first step in a due-diligence background. The Social Security trace provides address verification while the Consent Based Social Security Verification confirms that the number presented by your candidate was issued to that name. The two searches run together give you confidence that your candidates are who they say they are and will help you discover where they have lived so you can check their criminal history in locations they don’t tell you about and discover things they may not want you to find.


A search of your applicant’s Social Security Number will provide verification that the number has been used by your applicant and no one else. It will also show the residence history of your applicant and the other names under which your applicant may have been known (aliases, maiden names, anglicized names, nicknames, misspelled names).

This search does not verify that a particular Social Security Number belongs to a specific person nor does this information come from Social Security Administration records. As the Social Security Administration is constrained by privacy laws from revealing information about an individual’s Social Security account, the social security number information comes from proprietary databases created from private sources such as consumer reporting agencies, lending institutions, utility and cable companies and the credit bureaus credit header files. The organizations have compiled records that track the use of a social security number for a myriad of reasons, including credit applications, insurance, tenant applications and other public sources. A search of these records for a particular social security number will show all names associated with that number and the address for those names. It also shows if a number has been issued, when and where it was issued, and if the owner of the social security number has been reported as deceased.

There are occasions when a social security trace does not return any information, but this is not necessarily an indication that the number is false. In cases of a newly issued number, people new to the country, or young people who have not yet established much credit, there may be no information collected by the database compilers.


The purpose of the Consent Based SSN Verification System (CBSV) is to allow private businesses to verify that the name and SSN obtained from an employee matches or does not match the data in SSA‘s records. The information is matched against SSA‘s Master File of Social Security Numbers (SSNs), using Social Security number, name, date of birth, and gender code (if available).

The SSN holder is required to complete a consent form (Form SSA-89P) which will be used to verify whether the SSN holder’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination match SSA’s records. CBSV returns a “yes” or “no” verification indicating that the submission either matches or does not match the SSA’s records. In cases of identity theft and/or  fraudulent use of Social Security Numbers it will also show if the true SSN holder is deceased.

CBSV verifications do not verify an individual’s identity, citizenship, employment eligibility, nor does it interface with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify verification system. CBSV verifications do not satisfy DHS’s I-9 requirements.


While the service is available to all employers and third-party submitters, it can only be used to verify current or former employees and only for wage reporting (Form W-2) purposes. It cannot be used for pre-employment Social Security number verification or for any other reason. While SSNVS results in more accurate wage reports, saves processing costs and reduces the number of W-2cs and allows Social Security to give the proper credit to your employees’ earnings, verifying them through Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) pre-hire will achieve all those objectives and will eliminate your need to run the SSNVS post-hire.