Social Security One Trace vs. Consent Based Social Security Verification: Why Employers Should be Doing Both Searches

(Last Updated On: October 21, 2017)

Identity theft is a common problem in the world today, and the numbers are staggering; according to an article written by MSNBC technology correspondent Bob Sullivan, 20% of Americans are victims of identity theft (Sullivan, Bob. (2005, June 30). Just how common is ID theft? Retrieved from

Considering this statistic, it is no surprise that today’s employers want to verify the identity of their applicants. Two particular Justifacts searches: Social Security One Trace and Consent Based Social Security Verification can help to confirm that the person you are hiring really IS the person you are hiring.

What’s the difference between a US OneTrace and a Consent Based Social Security Verification?

It is important to understand the difference between these two searches and how they both impact the overall results of your background screening search.

The US OneTrace provides name and address history data associated with a particular Social Security Number (SSN). Data is sourced from a multi-jurisdictional database that includes information provided by hundreds of public and private sources.

The results of this search include:

• Other names and addresses that are associated with that particular social security number.

• The state and the approximate date of issuance of that particular SSN (for SSN’s issued prior to the Social Security Administration’s randomization initiative started in June 25, 2011)

• Comparison to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master Index to ensure that the SSN provided does not belong to a deceased person.

This information has an important impact on your background screening report. Since criminal record searches are strictly name based, you want to be sure that you are searching all current and previous names of your applicants. If an applicant has a criminal history under their maiden name, it will not show up in a search under their married name alone.

Address history is also important because you want to make sure that you are searching records in the jurisdiction where your applicant has lived. For example, if your applicant has lived in multiple states, you want to make sure that you are doing a search that covers criminal records in all of those states.

The Consent Based Social Security Verification (CBSV) verifies that your applicants name, date of birth, and SSN match that on record with the Social Security Administration. This search will return either a “yes” or “no” verification. If records show that the SSN holder is deceased, this search will return a death indicator.

While the CBSV does not verify identity or citizenship, it can tell you if your applicant is using a SSN that belongs to someone else as per Social Security Administration records. This is a red flag that may not show up in a US OneTrace search alone. Your applicant may very well have a long and solid history of previous names and addresses that may not necessarily alert employers to any red flags.

Therefore, Justifacts recommends doing both the US OneTrace to confirm name and address history, in addition to the CBSV to confirm that your applicant has provided a SSN that is indeed their own.