Many people believe that searching for criminal records is as easy as entering a Social Security Number, and then in an instant, someone’s complete criminal history will appear. Regarding this matter, hardly anything could be farther from the truth. Most criminal records do not even have a complete Social Security Number attached to them. Thus, in order to obtain a valid criminal search, it is crucial to search by the exact legal name and the exact date of birth of the individual upon whom the background check is being performed.

In order to validate the individual’s legal name and date of birth, it is essential to confirm these items against a Government Identification (ID), such as a driver’s license or passport. Also, if the Government ID is worn, and could have potentially been altered, it is advisable to require the individual to procure a replacement ID from the governmental agency that issued it. Otherwise, organizations run the risk of using fraudulent data from an altered ID, resulting in “garbage in – garbage out,” as it pertains to the criminal background check. It should be noted that most states even have laws which will fine an individual with a worn and somewhat illegible driver’s license, should that individual be stopped by a law enforcement official.

In today’s world, so many companies are using online applications, where the consumer completes the form online and then signs the authorization for the background check electronically. Many businesses do this to save money, yet they run the risk of the applicant intentionally altering a digit in their date of birth, or a letter in their legal name to compromise the background check results.

Implementing policies and procedures that validate legal name and date of birth are critical to ensure the best criminal searches possible. Further, whenever possible, include the middle name as it appears on the Government ID, in your criminal background search. Middle names are often needed to eliminate false positives for the individual being searched, especially with more common names.

Whether it is an employee background check, volunteer screening, resident screening, tenant screening, franchisee screening, country club membership screening, or other background check screening need, it is crucial to confirm the legal name and date of birth of the individual being screened, against a valid Government ID.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi. President, Reliable Background Screening.