AccuSource would like to provide an update on the Social Security Trace product, also known as a “Person Search.” Effective March 21, 2022, Social Security Trace data will no longer be displayed in background screening reports. Additionally, while clients will still be able to see on the InstaScreen summary page that a Social Security Trace has been processed by AccuSource, clients will no longer be able to view the specific data returned for the individual.
The Social Security Trace product uses the report subject’s Social Security number to pull locator data from various databases, including names and addresses associated with that Social Security number. Data is aggregated from hundreds of sources, such as credit headers, mail address forwarding, utility bill records, voter registration records, and others. AccuSource uses the aggregated data to “point” to additional names (e.g., maiden names, alias names) and jurisdictions that are associated with the individual. Access to this data allows AccuSource to locate identifiers and jurisdictions that may not have been disclosed by the individual, leading to a more comprehensive background check.
Because of the nature of the data, the Social Security Trace is an investigative tool that must be limited to internal use by AccuSource. It cannot be considered part of the background screening report and cannot be used by an end-user (e.g., employer) to make any employment decision or take any adverse action against an individual. It is also considered a non-Fair Credit Reporting Act covered product.
While the Social Security Trace is helpful as a pointer tool for internal use by AccuSource, it can have limited value for other purposes. Additionally, it is difficult for AccuSource to pinpoint the original location of any disputed data because it is aggregated from hundreds of sources. Multiple names and other personal identifiers could appear on a Social Security Trace for a variety of reasons (e.g., co-signing or co-application on loans, or father and son who share the same name). A Social Security Trace search may not return data for a Social Security number at times for various reasons, including limited credit history, Social Security number randomization, data entry errors, and other factors.
The removal of Social Security Trace data from consumer reports and the screening platform is not unique to AccuSource and has been trending in the background screening industry with an increased number of background screening agencies removing the data from external view. Removal of Social Security Trace data reduces risk for both AccuSource and our clients by ensuring that the data is being used internally by AccuSource for its specific, limited purpose. If you would like AccuSource to provide a complimentary review of your current background screening compliance program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.