Middle Names in Tenant Background Checks

Middle Name Now Required for Background Checks

You have the name, listed on their application and passport, so what’s the worry?  Well, you may not have the right name.  For example, a married woman may have changed the middle name on her passport to her maiden name, her surname, based on marriage.  But she never changed her drivers’ license to correspond to the name change.

Why the Middle Name?

A middle name may be a given name or a surname.  Culturally, it’s different around the world.  And then, some people have them and some don’t.  Those that have middle names, may not like them or use them.  For common last names, the middle name is an important identifier. How many Joe Smiths’ are there?  Using a middle name or middle initial helps reduce false positives and provides accuracy in background screening.

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have decided to emphasize the use of the middle name.  According to The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the FTC has made an initiative in 2016 for increased use of matching criteria and accurate identifiers when providing background checks.  Recently, the CFPB has penalized companies millions of dollars for providing inaccurate background checks.  Those companies reported criminal history for applicants whose identity was incorrect.

Middle Names in Criminal Records

Criminal records rarely include Social Security Numbers.  Typically, criminal records include first name, last name, middle name or initial and the date of birth.  Using a middle name is important to accurately match the applicant to the criminal record. To be in compliance with current regulations, middle names must be entered as part of the original screening request.  Or if the applicant does not have a middle name, it must be indicated.  The middle name must be part of the search request.  It cannot be added to a completed background check report.

How to Enter a Name for a Tenant Background Check

Always enter the full legal name.  That is first name, middle name and last name.  Do not enter nick names such as Bob for Robert.  Make every effort to enter a middle name or middle initial.

Choosing a Background Check Provider 

When choosing a background check provider, it makes sense to seek an agency which provides accurate reporting and a compliant program.  At Applycheck, middle names are required when placing orders for background checks.  If the middle name or initial is not available, the requester is required to check a box indicating the absence of a middle name.