All research requires a correct baseline from which to begin. The Social Security Trace is a powerful tool that will verify that the name, date-of-birth, and Social Security Number of the applicant match the information provided by the applicant.
Since most criminal records are matched with these identifiers, if an applicant is trying to hide a criminal record, this is the first place they can misdirect your efforts.
Moreover, the results are used to search a database of collected information from thousands of proprietary sources to provide an address history for the applicant, sometimes going back as far as twenty years. Since the majority of crimes are committed in jurisdictions where criminals reside, this allows you to focus valuable resources where they are most likely to yield the best results.