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About the Social Security Number Trace

Hiring families may have questions about the Social Security Number trace they receive as a result of the pre-employment background check order they run on their nanny, housekeeper or care giver candidate. The following FAQ about the SSN trace will assist in interpreting the report.

What is a social security trace?

A social security trace is a report that will return all current and reported addresses associated with a specific individual based on his or her social security number. If there are alternate names (aliases or also known as [AKA]) these are reported also. You should have a CONCERN if the name provided by the nanny to conduct the search does not match the name on file with the credit reporting agency.

How do I read (interpret) the SSN trace report?

The SSN trace report is derived from credit bureau records and follows a standard format. The sources include applications for cell phones, utilities (telephone, electric), credit checks for loans and/or credit cards, and qualification for rental agreements. SSN VALIDATION provides the date and state where the SSN was issued. Below please find an example.


SSN is valid. Issued in Florida – Issued in Year 195901960

Address Information

Personal Info Address Info Phone Info
TEST THE CASE MR***-**-678903-23-1940 Aged: 65 1111 N TABLE NE APT 1OCALA, FL 98765-43211995 TO 2004 5555551212TEST THE CASE MRCASE TEST & ANOTHERNAME(Dual Name)


(Company Name)

Abbreviations are often associated with the results. They are:

CA = current address

FA = former address

FN = former name Occasionally, the SSN Trace will report names or addresses unknown to the job applicant. These generally are simply records errors caused by faulty data entry. However, they may signify identity theft (even though this is rare). We encourage the applicant to request their free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus in this situation.

Occasionally the SSN provided for the background report is simply incorrect. This could be transcription, a typographical error, or simply the candidate who does not have a valid SSN. If a different number needs to be searched other than that originally provided, additional fees will be incurred.

What does it mean when no record is found?

Typically it will mean that the individual has very little or no credit history or the individual may be a recent immigrant to the country. Changes to US law in the last several years prevent individuals under 21 from applying for/receiving revolving credit accounts such as Visa and Mastercard so it is extremely common for these individuals to fall into this category. The credit reporting agencies can only verify that a number is a validly issued SSN. The US Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system is one source that can absolutely verify the name/SS number match and this is only available to US employers (or their agents) and requires the Employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number for e-Verify system enrollment. HWS can conduct the e-Verify check for clients, but it must be done within 72 hours of the start of employment.

The US Department of Homeland Security offers employee e-Verify Self Check that enables an employee or applicant to verify their own employment eligibility. The applicant can share the results with the employer, but the self check does not substitute of the employer’s I-9 obligations nor does it provide safe harbor to the employer if the employee is not actually eligible for U.S. Employment.

Where does a social security trace come from?

Source data for a social security trace is built by utility companies, credit card companies, banks and a host of other private entities when they ask or even require a social security number before a new account can be opened. This information will then be reported to the three major credit bureaus, Trans-Union, Experian (formerly TRW) and CSC/Equifax. They will then record the SSN, along with an individual’s identifying information in the top portion or “header” of credit reports. Unlike the full credit report itself, this information is made freely available and the subject is never notified that this information has been accessed. It is this data that is accessed when a social security trace is run. The SSN trace does not impact an applicants credit score, as it is not a true hard credit report.