One of the most common questions we hear at Protect My Ministry is this: “What information do I need from my volunteers so I can run a background check?” And usually when I give the answer – name, date of birth, and social security number – it is almost always met with questions like these:

  • Why do you need that?
  • How do you keep that information safe?
  • How are we supposed to keep that information safe?
These questions and more just like them have been brought to the forefront of our industry because of identity theft and I completely understand the concern. But I think before we can even address those issues it’s important to understand the “why” behind it all. Why do we ask for the SSN in the first place?
The History
Once upon a time social security numbers could be found on criminal records. When you requested someone’s background report you would submit the name, date of birth, and social. That is no longer the case. Because most criminal records are public information, individuals with criminal records on file were having their identity stolen because of the amount of information listed on those public files. Now only certain law enforcement records have criminal data files with the social still attached.
The Present
The social security number provides valuable information on your volunteer, including their previous addresses as well any names that have been associated with that SSN. This is important for two reasons: First, it verifies that the person is who they are telling you they are. Second, it will help you determine where you should be focusing your attention as far as your criminal search goes. If your applicant tells you they have lived their whole life in Florida but the SSN shows addresses in WA, NC, TX, etc…well now you have some questions to ask.
New and Improved!
While those features are valuable in and of themselves, Protect My Ministry has added even more new features to our SSN trace. With our new and improved national, we automatically run every alias that is under the social security number through the national database. This means if you do a background check on a married woman but you only search the married name, as long as her maiden name is listed under the social, we will search both names through the national database automatically at no additional charge to you! We will also re-verify any records we find to make sure it belongs to your person. This new feature will help eliminate cases of human error because it will automatically run the name reported on the SSN trace as well as the name requested, so if you misspell your applicants name our system will catch it for you! This added value is available through Protect My Ministry and ensures that we will continue to consistently provide the best, most accurate background check at the lowest possible price to churches.