Is Your Identity Background Check Accurate Enough?

You always want to be safe with those you contract with and those you hire. Running different background checks helps you verify the applicant's claims in their written statements before bringing them on the team. In decades past, the employment background check gave you the best and most complete information. In the land of new digital eras, identity background checks have come into play. As it becomes easier to falsify online information, you want to make sure an applicant is precisely who they say they are.

Identity Background Check

Identity Theft More Prevalent than Ever

In 2020, over 1.3 million people complained about identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The numbers are almost double the figures of the year prior.

Different forms of identity theft exist. Types of identity theft include using a person's name and address for:

  • Medical gain during emergencies,
  • Falsifying information given to a police officer during a traffic stop or arrest,
  • Opening new financial accounts, and
  • Avoiding negative information that might come from a genuine background or credit check. 

In the past, individuals who provided a social security number one number off, a different spelling of their first name, a different middle initial, or a slightly different birth date could get away with saying it was just a "genuine mistake." In some cases, that still may be true. While it's always good policy to allow individuals to correct their mistakes, especially if they have a habit of transposing certain letters or numbers throughout their lifetime, it's undoubtedly just as essential to obtain accurate identity information.

Suppose a company tries to verify identity only by using the identity documents provided by the applicant and attempts to prove these things through less-than-approved methods manually. In that case, it could end up costing a company:

  • Time (manual checking process)
  • Money (labor cost of tracking down the information)
  • Legal fees (in the event the company missed important identity information)
  • Fraud issues (and related problems because the person wasn't who they said they were) 

Employment Background Checks vs. Identity Background Checks vs. SSN Checks

Employment background checks indicate information such as:

  • Previous employers and the times at each one
  • Educational history, such as which degree the person holds
  • Other things based on each applicable state law.

Identity background checks use knowledge-based authentication questions to validate whether a person’s personal information provided by the applicant truly belongs to them. These questions are generated when a person enters a social security number or validates their phone number through a one-time passcode. The questions generated are very difficult to answer unless the person is who they say they are.

They may provide other ancillary information. Social Security number checks indicate whether the social security number provided by the applicant is a valid one issued by the department and to whom it belongs.

Can't you get more accurate information from social media or credit checks?

An applicant's social media information can be populated with nearly as much disinformation as candid and truthful information. Employers should not use the information found on social media sites as part of their employment decisions unless they have written authorization from a candidate to do so. In that instance, employers should not make hiring decisions using protected classes of information about an applicant's personal life, such as their:

  • Gender identification
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Skin color
  • Others

Information found on credit checks is limited for use or restricted altogether by some states. Understanding this highlights the need for efficient identity checks as part of the hiring process that complies with each state's guidelines.

Wouldn't checking with the FBI make more sense? 

Contrary to popular belief, the Federal Bureau of Investigations does not contain all historical identification information on any individual. The FBI can only run certain identity checks. Still, the data the agency finds may not include arrest records or other identity issues logged and housed primarily at a state level. Each state keeps its records and data sets which could contain more detailed or more accurate information for the checks you're seeking.

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TechGlobeX: Is Your Identity Background Check Accurate Enough?
Is Your Identity Background Check Accurate Enough?
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