By Katie Kulp


Effective background screening always depends on a balance of both quality and turnaround time. On one hand, businesses demand accurate, complete results (which is not instant). On the other hand, employers need the investigative process done yesterday to fill seats.  A bill that recently made its way before the Senate could spark significant progress in how fast one very important background screening service can be completed, that which is the Consent Based SSN Verification (CBSV).

The CBSV service verifies if the name and the Social Security Number (SSN) combination of a person matches the data in the SSA’s records. This check is vital to ensuring that a SSN provided by an applicant or employee, in fact, belongs to the name of the individual providing it as a measure of eliminating identity theft and fraud. Unfortunately, use of this service today by employers is not as prevalent as it should be given its extensive, non-electronic nature.

Two new bills will permit Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept electronic consent


For years, legislation required that the SSA-89 consent form, the form signed by an applicant which authorizes the SSA to perform a CBSV and communicate the results to the requestor or its agent, be given only by means of a handwritten signature. That said, fortunately, two newly introduced bills, one by the Senate (S.2155) and one by the House (H.R.5192), would not only permit the use of electronic signatures to obtain a CBSV, but would require the SSA to accept them as well.

Though “real” or “wet” signatures have long been viewed as the gold standard, these non-electronic signatures produce significant hurdles both to convenience and practical security. Both businesses and consumers have come to expect rapid turnaround on their transactions, and it is rarely unreasonable to expect nearly instant results for one’s requests for information. As such, delays in handling and transferring hard copies of official documents may be viewed as unacceptable by some.

Regarding data safety, and aside from the turnaround time delays they cause, handwritten signatures also provoke some surprising security obstacles. In addition to the inherent risk of falsified signatures, the complicated process required to transfer an original copy between parties leaves many openings for security breaches.

Electronic signatures could lead to more secure transactions

Currently, in order for the sensitive  SSA-89 to be signed, an applicant must 1) download and sign a hard copy of form 2) scan and save the form to their computer and 3) fax or email the form to a third party or upload the form to a third party portal. Since personal computers are rarely as secure as they could be, this process could leave many potential security gaps. With every additional step in the process, the chances of identity theft occurring – either by electronic or traditional means – are multiplied.

In contrast, electronic signatures allow for consent to be given over secure servers that minimize the risk of sensitive information becoming available to identity thieves. It also drastically decreases the amount of time between submission of a request until the moment results are received. Ideally, consent could be given in a single step on a secure site. If the new bills regarding CBSV become law in their current form, business owners and job seekers will be able to perform this service quicker and with greater security than ever.

Secure, safe, and compliant background screening

As an active player in the industry’s landscape, Chane Solutions is dedicated to advancing the field of background screening while providing the best possible services to our clients. Our expert team can guarantee fast and accurate results for all of your company’s background screening needs. To learn more about our comprehensive, cost-effective services, contact a representative today.

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