Is SSN a Good Option for the US Citizen Verification?

It’s hard to find a more dogmatic trend than the idea to verify US citizens via SSN. But is the method really as competent as it used to be?

There are two points of view concerning the SSN verification. On one hand, it is an established tradition to verify identity via SSN. It is simple, transparent and more importantly – cheap. On the other hand, the SSN verification is no longer secure enough since recently more and more data breaches have occurred.

For many years Social Security Numbers showcased a large and uncompromised database for the US residents and citizens. We conducted a detailed analysis of the legislation requirements and risks together with the collected data on how to verify SSN effectively.

What is SSN Verification?

SSN is a nine-digit number that the U.S. government issues to all citizens and eligible U.S. residents after filling SSN Verification Release Form. During the verification, the SSN immediately matches with an individual’s name and date of birth. This check can be combined with AML screening, background check, or employer income verification.

SSN for Identity Verification and Fraud Prevention

The US citizen verification has always occurred via Social Security Number. But recently there has been a controversy on SSN verification efficiency after a few major data breaches.

In 2018, more than 146 million Equifax user personal data was exposed. Likewise, at the US bank holding company, Capital One, 140,000 customer personal data, including SSN, was hacked in 2019.

Social Security numbers might not be the best way to verify data and does not meet companies verification standards. If SSN is hacked – it is irreversible. Besides, to find out 9 digits of a user’s SSN is not really a difficult task for a hacker.

That is the reason many companies do not approve the SSN Verification method and use alternatives such as:

  • Liveness check (face recognition software)
  • Document based verification
  • Voice ID

The advantage of SSN is its universal use. Every American taxpayer has Social Security Number that can be verified as simple as it goes with an ID card or passport.

How to verify SSN Online

The easiest way to verify with SSN is via the US Social Security Administration. The Social Security Number Verification Service is a free online service that allows registered users to conduct basic checks manually.

1. First, you need to register on Business Services Online. 

Is SSN a Good Option for the US Citizen Verification?

2. After you have logged in, select the Social Security Numbers Verification Service link and then Request Online SSN Verification.

Is SSN a Good Option for the US Citizen Verification?

3. After filling all the mandatory fields, including the EIN (Employer Identification Number), press the Submit button to process the data. The system displays the SSN Verification Results page.

Is SSN a Good Option for the US Citizen Verification?

You can find more detailed information in the Official SSA Handbook. Also, take a look at further tutorials on SSN Verification.

Even though SSN verification via SSA is a free option, it is inefficient with large amounts of data. There are some automated services that can handle way more checks at a time.

Other Types of SSN Verification Service and How to Choose Them

There are quite a few service representatives of SSN Verification on the digital market. However, the choice mostly depends on a cost.

  • Database services (Experian, alternatives – Equifax, GDC)
    These include large data providers with extensive coverage. There is no search system but a data network where matching occurs automatically.
    It might be a good option in case you intend to verify people entirely by yourself.
    It is better to choose the provider with good reputation and check them for past data breaches beforehand.
  • Identity verification and KYC providers (Sumsub, alternatives – none 😉)
    Prior to contact any KYC provider, make sure to list the requirements on the price, security, verification ability, technology used, global presence, etc.
    It might be a good option for SMB enterprise companies that are not prepared to fully create their own product for verification and compliance.

Overall, using SSN is still a common method for identity verification that plays a significant role in the US digital market despite it being compromised by the recent data breaches. In any case, the best option would be to choose those who can create an exclusive solution just for you.

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