Sex offenders are among the most prolific criminals who utilize alias names to avoid being tracked and outed on registries and job applications. In a national study, "Hiding in Plain Sight" conducted by Donald Rebovich, Ph.D. (professor of criminal justice and executive director of the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection), Rebovich and other researchers analyzed how sex offenders manipulate their identification information to escape detection.
Among the most frequently used methods of avoidance:
- Multiple alias names
- Various Social Security Numbers
- Various dates of birth
- Identity theft from family members
- Manipulation of given name
- Utilization of addresses which are not residences
- Altering of physical appearance
- Moving to states with less stringent regulations
"Given the sheer volume of registered sex offenders throughout the US, it is likely that tens of thousands of sex offenders are flying under the radar by employing simple methods to avoid effective tracking," said Rebovich. "What is most important to the public is that while the risk of most sexual offense crimes being repeated is relatively low, the stakes are very high," said James Byrne, Ph.D., one of the researchers who worked on the study.
The study makes recommendations for better tracking of sex offenders who manipulate their identity: development of a continuous notification system, for example, could work more like a credit monitoring report and alerting when signs of possible identity manipulation occur. "This is an extremely important case for verifying someone's identity - and one of the reasons ID Analytics developed a method for detecting signs of deliberate identity manipulation," said Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, Chief Analytics and Science Officer of ID Analytics and LifeLock.
The vision for an alert system is sound and hopefully will be implemented by law enforcement agencies tasked with tracking registered sex offenders nationwide.
Employers who utilize identity trace
reports have a higher chance of discovering either identity fraud or known alias names associated with the person applying for a job. Identity trace reports discover not only alias names, but previous residences, by utilizing public records from credit bureaus. Any name or address associated with a Social Security Number is revealed and can be searched for criminal records.
Applicants may use alias names to apply, but using identity trace tools, you can discover their real names; unfortunately, the court systems are not so nuanced. The name the crime was filed under is the name that must be searched to discover the record. The study by Dr. Rebovich reveals that criminals are aware of this - they can manipulate data to hide their past crimes. Fortunately, the screening industry has developed tools and best-practices to uncover this information - no matter how deep it may be hidden.