How to Verify a
Social Security Number
An Employer’s tools to verify a Social Security Number are of two types: 1) Non-Government Research Tools (usually used in the background check or pre-hire due diligence process) and 2) Official Government Employment Eligibility Verification Tools (usually used after an employee has been hired).
Non-Government Research ToolsThe following Non-Government tools are available to employers to conduct pre-hire due diligence and employee background checks.
SSN Scan (Credit Header Check)
A Social Security Number Scan uses Social Security Administration guidelines and various databases to determine whether a Social Security Number is valid and where and when it was issued.
The primary use of a Social Security Number Scan is to provide an inexpensive independent third-party source of name and address history that can be used when running criminal record checks.
For more information about SSN Scans, see Social Security Number Scan.
SSN Validation Tools
Several commercial sites use various checks to determine if the SSN is valid. These checks are similar to those used in a SSN Scan (above). For an example of a free website, see Background Check Articles: SSN Validator. (Search results are not endorsed by A Matter of Fact or the Social Security Administration.)
Official Government Employment Eligibility Verification Tools
The following official Government tools are used by employers to meet government requirements to verify that employee names and Social Security numbers match Social Security Administration (SSA) records.
E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
An employer can access E-Verify online free after applying for approval and passing a certification exam. See E-Verify
An employer can access E-Verify online through an approved vendor. No certification exam is required because the vendor system creates the alert notices, notification letters, etc. See E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification for an inexpensive and "employer friendly" E-Verify and Form I-9 service.
Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS)
SSNVS is a free online service provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for employers to verify employee names and Social Security Numbers. See Social Security Number Verification.
Verify Your Own Social Security NumberIf you want to verify your own SSN, you must bring proof of identity to your local Social Security Field Office. See the Social Security Office Locator Tool.
- We recommend that employers background all staff, including full-time employees, part-time employees, temps, contractors, and volunteers.
- We recommend that a SSN Scan be included in all employment background checks. For information about the contents of a background check, see Basic Background Checks or Comprehensive Background Checks, The Best Background Check
- We recommend our E-Verify service as the most accurate and easiest to use method of meeting both Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employment eligibility verification requirements. See E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification and Form I-9.
- Social Security Work History and Earnings History Reports, Applicant Background Check Resources
- Summary Of What Can Be In A Background Check
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