Uncovering Aliases: Do You Know Who You Are Doing Business With?

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People often change their names or use aliases to disguise their past. In a recent case investigated by Vcheck, an individual was found to have more than $15 million in debt due to three county civil court judgments associated with an alias—and that’s not all. This individual had essentially changed his name to hide bankruptcy and both local and federal court judgments against him.

Uncovering Aliases

At Vcheck, it is our standard procedure to unmask changed names or aliases once we start an investigation or background check. Third-party databases are useful for uncovering an individual’s aliases because they are tied to his or her social security number (SSN). Whenever a person uses an alias to conduct a transaction, they must provide their SSN; these databases typically store that alias. Third-party databases should be used in conjunction with data from courts and county recorder offices, which are usually the best resources for helping identify aliases and name changes. 

Name changes are typically filed as a civil petition with a county court, making the information public. Yet there have been instances where a subject has had numerous name changes, and figuring out the dates of each name change becomes a lofty task. For every alias that our investigators encounter, Vcheck manually searches county, state, and federal records.

Example Situations

The subject of a recent investigation went by various aliases. The databases we use picked up on all but one of those aliases. We uncovered an additional alias when we searched the subject’s name against a county court records terminal. As it turns out, the court had used a misspelling of the subject’s name. When we searched the misspelled name, we uncovered even more records that were clearly associated with the subject’s true identity.

In a separate investigation, a client provided us with a subject’s name that ended up being false. When Vcheck figured out what the subject’s name was, they uncovered that his claims to our client of being from a wealthy family of Greek investors was untrue. In fact, the subject had declared bankruptcy a few years prior. He was trying to get our client to invest in one of his “companies,” which were not established corporations. Our client was puzzled by the findings and decided to have Vcheck conduct an international investigation on him, which yielded no evidence about his past or his supposedly wealthy ancestors in Greece.

What Can Aliases Reveal?

Uncovering aliases and name changes can yield several key points of information about a subject, including the following:

  • Hidden past such as civil litigation, criminal records, judgments, tax liens, and bankruptcies
  • Hidden assets
  • Derogatory media coverage
  • Poor credit history
  • Social media alias accounts

At Vcheck, our approach to any investigation is unique in our ability to effectively utilize artificial intelligence and automation with the manual effort of investigators poring through data to build the most accurate report possible. It is our refined and tested process that empowers Vcheck to help individuals and companies avoid litigation and other unnecessary consequences of business dealings.

Tania Alvarado is Assistant Vice President of Investigations at Vcheck Global. She is an experienced investigative analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the security and investigations industry. She holds a master’s degree focused in criminal justice from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a bachelor’s degree in law and society from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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