Besides identity theft, there are legitimate and legal reasons for a social security number search. The caution generated by the rash of identity thefts extends to the search for social security numbers. Therefore there are certain channels you must go through to pursue such a search.
The majority of reasons for this type of search come from prospective employers. As a business, you want to have reliable, honest employees who represent your interests. Your first step is to verify that the applicant is actually who he purports to be.
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A simple online search using the information given on the application or resume should turn up the needed confirmation. Further information, including a background check, can be accessed with the social security number. Employees expect to be checked in this fashion. If they have an objection, there is a good chance they are hiding something from you.
People are turning more and more to their past for answers to who they are and where they came from. Genealogy buffs are searching data bases for birth records, marriage records, death certificates, etc. in the fond hope of tracing their lineage. Social security numbers can be a big help in locating this type of information.
In either case, a variety of organizations exist to help in this. Some are free (probably limited in scope and credibility) while others require payment (beware of scams). A free service provided by the United States government allows you to search up to ten social security numbers daily. The web site address for the United States Social Security search is http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm.
Public record data bases do not list social security numbers so in the event you have only the social security number and not the personís name, you will probably need to rely on a third-party such as a private investigator or an online service such as Abika.com, BestPeopleSearch.com or another service there are many.
Alternatively, you can pay for a service on a yearly basis which allows you access to these searches on your own These fees can run from $29 to $59 a year but are well worth the cost if you need to conduct regular searches because of employee turnover or if your business attracts a somewhat less than upstanding applicant.
A search for a personís social security is possible if the person is deceased. A simple search on http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/ will turn up that personís social security number without any trouble. In the event the person is still alive, the third party method of hiring an investigator is the most efficient method.