Stolen Social Security NumberOne major issue that should be of concern to business owners is the problem of stolen social security numbers.  In the wake of the Equifax Data Breach and the numerous other data breaches which have occurred (both reported and unreported), the general public should realize that the United States is currently swimming in an ocean of stolen social security numbers.  The most obvious reason why this is problematic is that the social security number is one of the key instruments used to verify an individual’s identity.

If a background check is conducted without using the social security number, that background check is not valid.  If the information received from an invalid background check is used for hiring purposes, the employer is engaging in an illegal act per FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) rules.  If the social security number is in fact used in the process of conducting a background check, the situation becomes much more problematic if that number was stolen.  Social security cards are made out of paper, therefore, fake social security cards are easy to make.  Any thorough background check will utilize what is sometimes called a Social Security Trace Report, which matches the social security number to the correct person’s name and most or all of their previous addresses and their current address.  This report should also check the number against the Social Security Death Index to make sure that a dead person’s social security number is not being used.

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