What’s included in a Social Security Number Search?

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

November 16 2022

Pre-employment background screening is an essential tool for human resources professionals. Many factors go into running a professional background check, but the key element of a successful background check is a social security number search. A criminal background check built on the results of a social security number search provides hiring managers with the details needed to make informed hiring decisions that support the safety and security of their organization.

The foundation of background screening is the criminal history search. Hiring managers need to know if an applicant has a criminal record and how any charges and convictions found relate to the position.

Hiring managers magnify the power of a criminal records search by running a background check with an SSN Trace. Wondering what an SSN Trace is? Let’s dive into what a social security number search is and why a criminal background check with a social security number check is the gold standard.

What is SSN Trace?

Comprehensive background checks protect businesses, employees, and customers and ensure that an organization hires the best talent by painting complete pictures of candidates. Running a background check with SSN Trace is essential because it broadens the scope of a criminal history search by revealing where your background check should look for criminal activity.

A social security number search scans data nationwide to find any names, aliases, or jurisdictions associated with a candidate’s SSN, including any that candidates do not list on their applications. Because of this, a background check with SSN Trace offers screening companies a more complete and meaningful list of places and names they need to search for risky criminal activity.

SSN Trace Plus

At InfoMart, we use an updated version of SSN Trace called SSN Trace Plus to run criminal background checks. This service stands out by tapping into real-time, nationwide incarceration data to provide the most current and accurate picture of a candidate. The biggest benefit? It leverages arrest information to finds convictions in the counties in which a candidate has never lived. Arrested in Boston while there on a business trip? Caught driving under the influence one town over? Get into trouble in Vegas while on vacation? SSN Trace Plus has companies covered so they get a real picture of their candidates’ indiscretions.

Criminal Record Searches and SSN Trace

Businesses invest in criminal record searches with SSN Trace so that they have a comprehensive image of their candidates. It protects the company’s people, assets, and brand image:

  • Candidates with certain criminal histories may not be eligible to work with vulnerable populations.
  • Candidates with records may pose a threat to employees’ and customers’ safety.
  • Criminal backgrounds can put a business at risk of theft and fraud.
  • Businesses are often held liable for the actions of their employees. If an employee with a criminal record commits a crime during their employment, the company may be sued for negligent hiring.
  • Sometimes, job applicants provide fake or invalid social security numbers to conceal negative information about their backgrounds.

Each of these scenarios applies to candidates, whether they apply for full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary positions. Running a social security number through SSN Trace identifies where a background check should be run to reduce these risks, mitigating the possibility of fraudulent, negligent, and costly hiring practices.

What Does a Social Security Number Search Reveal?

A social security number search reveals jurisdictions in which an applicant has lived or worked. An SSN Trace provides the applicant’s current address and multiple known addresses over a seven-year period. This ensures all jurisdictions in which an applicant has lived are included in the criminal history search. It also reveals aliases, allowing a background screening company to uncover any crimes committed by a candidate who changed their name or submitted partial information.

An SSN Trace may also reveal fraud. For example, an applicant may attempt to use a nonexistent social security number to hide their past criminal activity. In other cases, identity thieves may try to use a number that belongs to someone else entirely. An SSN Trace manages these risks by confirming the existence of an SSN and matching the social security number to the candidate.

Get a Background Check with SSN Trace

SSN Trace is a highly effective way to discover any information needed to run a comprehensive background check, reducing hiring risk. A social security number search starts a background check with accurate information before your candidate becomes a representative of your brand.

Looking for a professional background screening company that specializes in background checks with SSN Trace? InfoMart’s got you covered. With over three decades of experience and an innovative attitude, we’ve built an integrated and customizable solution that delivers the comprehensive checks needed to make informed hiring decisions.

Any questions?

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About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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