What Can Chad Johnson Teach Us About Background Checks?

Nick Fishman

Chad Johnson, wide receiver for the NFL’s Cincinatti Bengals has officially changed his last name to “Ocho Cinco”.  Why did he do this?  There are so many issues we could dig through to get to the bottom of this, but let’s just deal with the surface.  Johnson (I mean Ocho Cinco) is known by his attention grabbing antics.  A couple years ago, he began referring to himself as “Ocho Cinco” to pay homage to . . . himself.  His jersey number was 85.  He was fined by the NFL when he placed this name on the back of his jersey.  Ergo, the name change.

Why can those who conduct background checks learn something from Ocho Cinco’s antics?  Well, because it gives us an opportunity to discuss how to conduct a thorough criminal background check.  As you remember, the best practice is to conduct a criminal record search in all counties where an applicant has lived, worked or attended school over at least the last 7 to 10 years under each name used.  So, if we were to conduct a Social Security Number Trace (Address History Search) on Mr. Ocho Cinco, we would find at least the following counties: Hamilton County, Ohio (Johnson’s in-season hometown), Dade County, Florida (Johnson’s off-season hometown) and Benton County, Oregon where Johnson attended Oregan State Univeristy.  And now we know that we would find two names: “Chad Johnson” and “Chad Ocho Cinco”.

Assuming that Chad was just your average job applicant, we wouldn’t know that he had recently changed his last name.  Therefore, the best practice would be to perform a county criminal record search in each of the aforementioned counties under each of the names.

Another celebrity who could really make us work to perform a thorough background check would be musician, Prince, who’s also gone by Prince Rogers Nelson, The Artist Formerly Known as Price, The Artist and at one point just used a symbol as his name.  Okay, who knows if those were all legal names?  Just having fun after a long weekend.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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