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Your background screening FAQs answered

Your background screening FAQs answered

By Susan Chance, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

We have all been exposed to the belief that things come in threes, deaths, good things, bad things, etc. There is even a name for the superstition that things come in threes, Triaphilia. ASE gets repeated questions in many areas of background checking and drug screening, and the following outlines the most frequently asked questions.


SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TRACES

Q. What does this message mean: “Unable to validate SSN. We are unable to confirm the validity of this SSN. The number may be part of the SSA randomization program implemented in June 2011 or may not yet be issued. If the applicant is unable to provide confirmation, or if the number was issued after June 2011, we recommend that you refer the applicant to the social security administration to verify the authenticity of the SSN.”

A. SSN’s were previously assigned by a 3-digit area number, a 2-digit group number, then a 4-digit serial number. This way of assigning numbers created a limit to the numbers available by state. The new method assigns random numbers. Most systems were created to operate with SSN’s assigned under the previous method, so without updates to systems and/or processes, the numbers can’t be validated on-line. See https://www.ssa.gov/employer/randomization.html for more detail.

Q. Who provides the information on a Social Security Number check?

A. The information is pulled from various credit sources.  When a person applies for a mortgage, car loan, credit card, etc., that information is reported to the credit agencies.  The name and address used on that application will show up on the credit report. This is also why you may see a person’s name listed in various ways: with a middle name/initial or without; legal name spelled out; or nickname, such as Johnathon or John. The applicant may list their name differently, or the person processing the information may not enter the full name.

Q. Why doesn’t the credit check show any names/addresses on the report?

A. As mentioned above, the information comes from credit applications, so if a person has never applied for any type of credit, they won’t have results to show. This is typically due to age, but not always. While it may not happen often, there are some people who for various reasons have never applied for credit.

CREDIT INFORMATION

Q. What does this message mean on a credit report:   ***ALERT:  #HK#EFCRA EXTENDED FRAUD ALERT: ACTION MAY BE REQUIRED UNDER FCRA BEFORE OPENING OR MODIFYING AN ACCOUNT. CONTACT CONSUMER AT (773) 809-0316*** 

A. This message will show when a subject has placed an extended alert on their credit file due to having been a victim of identity theft. This provides an extra layer of protection by removing their name from prescreened credit offers and allows them to receive two free credit reports from each of the nationwide credit companies within a 12-month period.

Q. What does this message mean on a credit report:  ***IDVISION ALERTS: FILE PREVIOUS ADDRESS REPORTED USED IN TRUE NAME FRAUD OR CREDIT FRAUD (UNIT: ###)***

A. This message means that someone who has either lived at the address or used the address for billing purposes has committed identity theft by using the information to open accounts. When there is a unit number listed, that is a multi-unit address, typically an apartment building. Most often the unit number does not match the unit number of the credit report subject.

As with all flagged items on a background profile, you must review the information carefully and make sure to give the subject the opportunity to dispute any information they believe is not accurate. 

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