In today’s world, conducting background checks has become a vital component of many organizations’ screening processes. This could include employee screening, member screening, volunteer screening, franchisee screening, tenant screening, and more. These checks help ensure that the individuals being considered for these positions have a history of integrity and responsibility. However, to conduct a thorough and effective background check, it is crucial to confirm the applicant’s exact legal name, including middle name if any, and exact date of birth, against a valid government-issued identification card.

Why is it important to confirm the exact legal name and date of birth against a valid ID? There are several reasons why this is crucial, but probably the most important is that most criminal records have no social security number.  Thus, legal name and date of birth are generally imperative to obtain a valid criminal background check.  The correct social security number (SSN), however, is important too, as it displays the names and addresses associated with that SSN, which elucidates what county criminal records searches should also be performed, along with any alias names, such as maiden names that should be searched.

Further, there may be individuals with the same or similar names, and verifying their identity helps ensure that the background check results are accurate and relevant to the right person. Additionally, people can change their name or falsify their identity to conceal a criminal history or other negative information. Government-issued identification cards, generally State Driver’s Licenses or State ID’s and/or U.S. Passports are typically the most reliable source for verifying an applicant’s legal name and date of birth.

Obtaining the middle name is also imperative.  One of the most common mistakes made during the screening process is overlooking middle names. Often, people may omit their middle name when filling out application forms, thinking it’s not important. However, this could lead to incomplete or inaccurate background check results. A criminal record or other negative information associated with an applicant’s middle name may not get reported, if it’s not included in the screening process.

Another issue is that applicants may provide a nickname or shortened version of their legal name on the application form. While this may seem like a minor discrepancy, it can cause problems during the screening process. For instance, the applicant’s legal name from their Government ID might not match the name on their application. In such cases, it’s important to ask applicants to provide their legal name on the application, the same as it appears on their government-issued identification card.

Verifying an applicant’s date of birth is just as crucial as confirming their legal name. Many people may lie about their age or provide a false date of birth to conceal negative information or appear more qualified for the position they’re applying for. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that the applicant is of legal age to work or fulfill the responsibilities of the position they’re being considered for. For instance, a person applying for a position that involves serving alcohol should generally be at least 21 years old.

It is a key necessity to verify an applicant’s identity against a valid government-issued identification card. A driver’s license, State ID and/or passport are the most common forms of identification used for this purpose. It’s important to ensure that the ID is current, valid, and not expired. Furthermore, it’s essential to ensure that the ID belongs to the applicant and is not fraudulent.

Conducting a thorough background check is vital for any organization to help ensure that they only approve applicants who satisfy their organization’s criminal background check requirements, be it for employee screening, member screening, volunteer screening, franchisee screening or tenant screening. However, to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the background check results, it’s crucial to confirm the applicant’s exact legal name, including middle name if any, and exact date of birth against a valid government-issued identification card. Failing to do so could result in incomplete or inaccurate information, which could potentially put the organization at risk. Therefore, it’s fundamental to prioritize this step during the screening process and ensure that it’s done correctly. By doing so, organizations can make informed decisions about the individuals they are considering for various positions, ensuring that they select people who are not only qualified, but also have a history devoid of dangerous criminal convictions.

In conclusion, confirming legal names and dates of birth is necessary to maintain the accuracy and completeness of background check reports. Background check reports are only as reliable as the information they contain. If the information used to conduct the background check is incorrect or incomplete, the report may be inaccurate, leading to poor decision-making and potential liability for the organization.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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