How Accurate Are Your Customer Identification (CIP) and Know Your Client (KYC) Background Check Programs?

Are you starting your background check with accurate information?

In many cases, the information gathered from written applications and online forms contains errors, particularly spelling errors (e.g. a person’s name), or fails to provide all the needed data. Remember, your background check should begin with identifying the correct names of the individuals and companies that you need to search otherwise your results may not be accurate.

The accuracy of the information used to initiate a background check may be more important than the background check itself.


Take the time to positively identify people: Verify and identify the correct name of a person before you begin your background check. Be thorough and determine proper spellings as well as nicknames, aliases, and former names used because you will need to search them.

Make sure you identify and verify company names: Treat a company like a person because they often have other names, thus you will need to search these to be accurate. For instance, companies conduct business by their legal name or a legally filed fictitious business name. They may also use a DBA (i.e. doing business as), subsidiary name, parent company name, or a former name as a result of a merger and acquisition.

If you search the wrong names, your background check may reflect a false positive result, which could lead to legal or non-compliance issues down the road.

Who conducts these background checks for your company?

With increased access to some of the essential public and private data sources needed to conduct a compliant background check, many companies are tempted to implement a do-it-yourself program or select the cheapest option available to conduct these checks. Unfortunately, sometimes the task of managing these programs can become a burden for a department that is chosen to oversee the background operations, especially as the individuals in the department can view backgrounds as extra work. This issue results in poor investigations as details can be overlooked or in situations when there is not proper training in all areas of due diligence. Therefore, is your current solution for these types of backgrounds serving your company well?

Maybe it is time for a review.

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