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How Alias Names Hide Criminal Records

An alias name or AKA (“also known as”) is any name an applicant may use instead of a birth name, whether the alias name is legal or casual, such as a nickname. While there are valid reasons for an applicant to utilize alias names, criminals may intentionally go by a different name to hide their true identity which has a criminal history attached.

How Do Alias Names Affect a Criminal Search?

You can imagine the implications an applicant having multiple names would have on a background check, especially when it comes to the importance of an accurate criminal history check. There’s a possibility that criminal records could exist under any previous/other name an applicant might go by. In the world of background screening, each additional alias name might as well be an entirely separate person because of the plethora of varying personal information and records that could be associated with each AKA.

The AKA Search Process

Whether or not alias names are disclosed during the application process, True Hire’s background check system will uncover possible alias names. To help your screening provider identify alias names the applicant may have used, ensure the personal information form the candidate fills out prior to the background check includes a section for “previous names used” or “any other names by which you’ve been known”. Avoid strictly asking for “maiden name” or “married name”.

It is also extremely useful to ask the applicant when they changed their name which can help speed up the background check process. For example, a criminal record search may go back 7 or 10 years, so if the applicant changed their name 15 years ago, then that is irrelevant. But all name changes within the criminal search time period are crucial for conducting accurate searches. True Hire’s forms ask for “any former names, maiden or otherwise” and also dates the alias name was used.

If there are any alias names that were not disclosed by the applicant, a Social Security Number Trace will first verify the applicant’s identity and then also find other potential AKAs as well as addresses of residence. Uncovering all the possible aliases and addresses of an applicant is imperative to conducting an accurate criminal record search because court documents are stored by name and date of birth and previous addresses tell our criminal researchers which county courts and state courts need to be searched. If AKAs are not included in your screening package, this means that criminal records could be missed for your applicant meaning you may unknowingly hire a criminal.

True Hire recommends adding AKAs to your background check program to be as thorough as possible when it comes to criminal records. This allows you to make the best hiring decision for your organization, protect your organization from bad actors, and give you the utmost peace of mind.

DISCLAIMER: True Hire is not a law firm and cannot provide you with legal advice. This article is being provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. Always consult your legal counsel directly when making compliance decisions. We do not undertake any duty to update previously published collateral.


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