An SSN search is a popular way to locate people, check criminal records, run background checks, etc. Depending on exactly what you’re trying to do, you may be able to run an SSN search for free, but there are often limitations on the information you can get (and on who is authorized to run them).
Social security numbers are the main identifying number used for official government/legal transactions as well as on credit records; consequently there’s a wealth of information associated with a person’s social security number (though a lot of it is not part o the public records). Typically, a lawyer, private investigator or credit agency can conduct an SSN search and get relatively fast public record results.
However, these SSN searches are far from free and can only be run if you have one of the few approved, official purposes. In addition, they typically require consent from the person you’re searching (assuming it’s not for yourself).
For free SSN searches, the Social Security Administration – who administer social security numbers – offer SSN verification for businesses, but, of course, you actually have to be a registered business and the information itself is limited to simply verifying that the number you have is correct.
That said, if you’re interested in finding someone (i.e. getting a current address and phone number) and checking criminal records and other public records (marriage/divorce records, bankruptcies, etc.), you can discretely run an background check online. The information you would likely get from a private investigator are available instantly with free preview results.
You don’t even need to use an SSN (which is a huge plus from a security perspective) – all the records have been compiled and sorted so that you can search with just a name and last known city and state. You can try it below for free:
As you’ll see, you can review preview results to make sure you’ve got the right person and get an idea of the information that’s available – it’s quick and free. If you decide you want to dig deeper, you can reports starting from about $10 – not free, but it will hardly break the bank.
There are also options for unlimited searches for one low rate, so if you’re doing a lot of research, the cost per search can drop significantly. In fact, this is exactly what many private investigators do (though they charge their customers significantly more).
So, while a free SSN search might be pretty hard to come by, there are free resources available – and a lot more information can be had instantly for a low cost (especially compared what a lawyer or private investigator would charge).
1. How do Private Investigators perform a social security number lookup?
2. How can I perform a social security number lookup?
3. Can I perform a social security number lookup on someone who has died?