Hello, my name is Matthew, but you can call me Matt or Mateo or Mateus or Matevz or any of 25 other variations.  Actually Matthew is my middle name, which is the name I go by.  My first name is Robert or Rob or Bob or Bobby or Bobbie…well you get the idea.  What’s in a name?  When it comes to background screening just about everything.  When trying to find criminal records that belong to a particular applicant the two key items that are used in determining a match are full name and date of birth.  So if you are not searching the correct name you are not going to get accurate results.

Fortunately the PeopleFacts system has tens of thousands of these name variations built into the system and the name variations are considered whenever you request a search against our BroadScreen™ database (“national”, or better stated, “multi-jurisdictional” database).  When conducting searches at the county level however, whether name variations are considered, depends on the particular jurisdiction.  In counties that have sophisticated online records systems name variations are often included.  But where a person has to go to a courthouse to pull a physical file considering name variations might not occur unless special instructions are provided – and then usually with additional expense.

Another common situation where additional names may need to be considered when requesting a background check is in the case of maiden or former married names.  Your application form should ask the question, “Have you used or been known by any other names? If so, please list them.”  Knowing up front that your applicant has other names that should be searched is important.  PeopleFacts has products available that allow you to discover additional names, maiden, married, or alias by using the social security number of the applicant.  Asking the applicant and running the search gives you the opportunity to test the truthfulness of your applicant.  When an applicant omits an alternate name after being asked it should serve as a warning to search that name.

Searching additional names can certainly add to the expense of your background screening program but by knowing that most criminal record searches are based largely on the name it should lead you to the conclusion that searching all of the names associated with your applicant is the way to get the best results.