Background Screening without a Social Security Number

Credit Reports

A common question we often hear is how to get a background screening without a social security number. Most property managers, landlords and homeowner associations want a credit report included when screening buyers and renters. It’s a sensible choice since credit reports include so much information. Credit reports include personal identification, trade lines with payment history, credit inquiries, public records and collections. (It should be noted that the credit bureaus will soon exclude tax liens and some civil debts from their reports.) Credit reports can also include a credit score. No doubt, credit reports are a great tool with a lot of pertinent financial information.

Most often, the 3 major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) require a valid social security number (SSN) to search an applicant’s credit history. Without the SSN, the report may not provide any information, partial or inaccurate information, or simply return an error when processed.

Individual Tax Identification Number

What if the applicant provides an ITIN instead of the SSN on the application? If an applicant used an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for credit or a loan, those tradelines may become part of the applicant’s credit history. However, without a SSN, most often, the credit bureaus will not recognize the ITIN and no records will be reported.

The ITIN is issued for tax purposes and was not meant to facilitate private commerce. ITIN’s are granted to individuals who are not qualified to receive a SSN. Some landlords or property managers include an ITIN in a credit report request without realizing it is not a SSN. Both the SSN and ITIN include 9 digits. However, an ITIN begins with the number “9”. SSN’s do not begin with “9.”

But what if the applicant does not have a SSN? How can you get a background screening without a social security number? Here is the good news.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks do not require a SSN. They are searched by name, date of birth and address. If the applicant has a SSN, it is best used to help properly identify the applicant before the searches are run. But the SSN is not required for a criminal records search.  Criminal records can be reported without the SSN.

Bankruptcy, Lien and Judgment Search

You can receive information about the applicant’s financial history through a bankruptcy, lien and judgment search. If the applicant did not pay income tax, was sued and lost in court for non-payment of rent or credit, the court will issue a judgment in favor of the government, creditor, lender or collector. Those records will appear in a search. You will not see the applicant’s history of credit card payment but you will see their negative financial history. Bankruptcy, liens and judgments are big events in someone’s financial history. These civil searches are more revealing than their payment history on a credit card. So even if your applicant does not have a SSN, you can still do your due diligence and receive reporting on their financial condition.

How to get a Background Screening without a Social Security Number

Applycheck provides screening packages matching the backgrounds of buyers and renters, no matter where they are from or where they live. We provide a solution for every applicant. If an applicant does not have a SSN, use our Basic Plus No SSN package which includes Nationwide Criminal, US Sex Offender, FBI/US Marshall lists, Terrorist/OFAC and Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgments and an Eviction search.