One of the issues with how online applications are set up

is that you cannot complete the application without giving that information (and thus that implied permission). They won’t let you progress to the next page without that “required information”. It’s a slick setup – you don’t want to cooperate, you don’t get to finish. I used to only see that once in awhile but this latest job search in Sept featured that on every single web-based application I filled out. And ALL of the job postings required that I fill out their online form. No paper versions allowed. A few sites were so blatant as to say that paper resumes and applications would be dismissed without being read.
Nothing like being herded into the cattle car. That’s about how it felt. So I am not surprised in the least that they would then use that SSN information to run the credit report. Which is why I stayed in the “self employed” category, despite earnest intentions to get back into Corporate America (or even non-profit America for that matter). They don’t want to be cooperative, then I sure as heck don’t want to work there.