Conducting Background Checks Without SSN – A Comprehensive Guide

A background check is a standard procedure used by employers, landlords, and institutions to verify an individual’s personal and professional history. One of the most common ways of conducting background checks on individuals is through their Social Security Number (SSN). However, not everyone has an SSN, or they may not want to provide it for privacy reasons.

Conducting Background Checks Without SSN – A Comprehensive Guide

Fortunately, there are several ways to conduct a background check without using an individual’s SSN. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various methods that can be used to perform reliable background checks without needing an SSN.

How Does A Background Check Work?

Before we delve into how to perform a background check without an SSN, it’s essential to understand how traditional background checks work. Most background checks follow a similar process that includes the following steps:

  1. The individual provides personal information such as their full name, date of birth, and residential address.
  2. The screening company then collects public records related to the individual such as criminal history, credit reports, employment history, and education qualifications.
  3. The screening company reviews the collected information for any discrepancies or red flags that may impact the individual’s suitability for employment or tenancy.

The above process requires an SSN to locate and cross-reference specific data sources accurately. However, there are alternative ways of performing a thorough background check without relying on an SSN.

Methods For Conducting Background Checks Without An SSN

1. Use Additional Identifiers

One way to conduct a background check without relying solely on an SSN is by using additional identifiers such as full name, date of birth, and residential address. Many public records systems allow searches based on these parameters; however, results may vary depending on how common the individual’s name is or if they have recently moved.

To increase accuracy when relying on non-SSN identifiers during a background check, it’s best to use multiple sources such as:

  • The individual’s official identification documents
  • Employment or rental applications
  • Professional licenses or certifications
  • Publicly available records such as voter registration or court filings

By collecting information from several sources, you can cross-reference the data to create a more accurate picture of the individual’s history.

2. Verify Employment History

Another way to conduct a background check without an SSN is by verifying the individual’s employment history. Many employers require job applicants to provide previous employment details in their resume or application, including company names and contact information.

You can then use this information to verify the individual’s work history through references and employment verification services. Additionally, you can also use online sources such as LinkedIn and other social media platforms to verify an individual’s job titles and experience.

3. Check Criminal Records

Criminal records are one of the most critical components of a background check, but they don’t necessarily require an SSN to access them. Local criminal court records are typically public record and accessible through county-level filings.

You can search for criminal convictions using databases such as:

  • Statewide criminal record repositories.
  • Federal court databases.
  • National sex offender registries.
  • County-level criminal court dockets.

While these searches may not be as comprehensive without SSN data, they can still provide valuable insight into an individual’s past criminal history.

4. Use Online Search Engines

Online search engines like Google may provide useful information during a background check that doesn’t require an SSN. By researching an individual’s name on Google, you may be able to find:

  • News articles mentioning their name in connection with certain events.
  • Social media profiles that may contain relevant information about their personal life.
  • Professional biographies or online resumes that list previous work experience.
  • Blogs and forums where they have actively participated and left comments.

It’s essential to note that not all online sources may be reliable, so it’s important not to rely solely on this method during a background check.

5. Background Check Companies

If you’re unable to conduct a thorough background check without an SSN, you may wish to engage the services of a professional screening company. Reliable background check companies have access to extensive public records databases and the expertise necessary to interpret complex data sets.

When deciding which background check company to use, consider:

  • The types of services they offer.
  • Their level of experience and how long they’ve been in business.
  • Their reputation within the industry.
  • Any associated costs for their services.

It’s essential to review any legal requirements applicable in your region for performing background checks through third-party providers such as screening companies.


The need for conducting a thorough background check is essential for most employers or landlords. While relying on an SSN makes this process simpler, there are several options available when that information isn’t available or provided by the individual. By using a combination of methods discussed in this guide, you can create a comprehensive picture of an individual’s personal and professional history without needing their SSN.


Can you conduct a background check without a social security number?

Yes, there are alternative methods to conduct a background check without using an SSN.

What is the importance of conducting a background check for employees?

A background check can help employers make informed hiring decisions and ensure the safety and security of their workplace.

What are some alternative identifiers that can be used for background checks?

Other identifiers such as name, date of birth, and address can be used to conduct a background check.

How can I verify employment history without an SSN?

You can request employment verification from previous employers by providing other identifying information such as name and date of birth.

Can I conduct a criminal history check without an SSN?

Yes, criminal history checks can be conducted using other personal identifying information such as name and date of birth.

How do I ensure that I am complying with state and federal laws when conducting background checks without an SSN?

It is important to consult with legal counsel to ensure that your hiring practices comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding background checks.

Are there any limitations to conducting a background check without an SSN?

Yes, certain types of information may not be available or may require additional verification if an SSN is not provided.

Can I use online resources to conduct a background check without an SSN?

Yes, there are many online resources available for conducting background checks using alternative identifiers such as name and date of birth. However, it is important to use caution when relying on online sources for sensitive information.

How long does it take to conduct a thorough background check without an SSN?

The length of time required for a thorough background check will vary depending on the scope of the investigation and the availability of information.

What should I do if I encounter discrepancies in a background check conducted without an SSN?

It is important to carefully review any discrepancies and conduct additional verification before making any hiring decisions.

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