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PITFALL 2: USE OF PERSONAL IDENTIFIERS TO IDENTIFY OFFENDERS


Another common hurdle faced during criminal background checks is the problem of correctly associating a possible criminal record with the person being investigated. In other words, you might be doing a criminal background check on John Smith and you find there are hundreds of possible cases. How do you know which, if any, is the same John Smith you are investigating?

The answer is through personal identifiers. Practically speaking, when it comes to criminal records, this usually means date of birth (DOB), middle name, physical address. It could also include other items like social security number, driver’s license number, gender, physical description and so on.

For private investigators that have access to databases of “personal reference information” – in other words, name, address, SSN and DOB information, this is typically not much of a problem. They will pull the subject of the investigation’s personal identifiers, and then use them to weed out irrelevant results.

For a member of the public trying to do their own investigation without access to these databases, this could be all but impossible when faced with a common name like John Smith. In fact, they often have no choice but to hire a private investigator who has both the skill necessary and access to a personal reference database so he can weed through a high volume of possible cases to determine which, if any, are relevant.

Pitfall 3: Criminal Background Checks for Employers: Legal Considerations

The Importance of Redundancy in Records Checking

Model Private Sector "Best Practices" Criminal Background Check

Conclusion: The Role of Internet-based Criminal Record Searches

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