SF86 Question - Other names used

My friend just went through the same questioning I did so I decided to share my experience. Last spring during my interview BI asked me for several names I did no list in SF86 Question “other names used”. I replied I have never used those names. I added I listed all the names I used as a single and as a married woman.

When I asked where did he find that version of my name? He replied during his research but he did not tell me where. But the names he asked I’ve only seen them listed in public search databases like People search and/or Intelius.

I told BI about public people search databases not only list names I’ve never used but also relatives that aren’t mine, Including linking people in the same town as relatives just because we have the same last names. I told him I even received credit cards with incorrect names. I returned them for correction since I’ve never used my maiden name as my middle name. BI asked me again if I used any of those names. I guess he wanted to make sure I did not contradict myself. I replied no.

My friend told me her BI insisted questioning her about names she have never used. He asked her several times when, where and why she used them. She said she felt accused of something she has never done. We did not have the same BI. I found it interesting they asked for names from public sources that we have never used.

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The thing to understand here is that the BI isn’t the one who actually does this research. There are several different checks run “behind the scenes” and we are simply provided with the information.

So if your name is Elizabeth Smith and you don’t list “Liz” as an AKA, but for whatever reason that is provided to us as a name you’ve gone by in the past, we are required to ask you about it.

As far as where that information is found- it can be a number of places. Credit report, law searches, etc. It could be that Another investigator talked to some reference from an old job or school or something who said you went by “Lizzy”.

The BI is ultimately just the note taker. They are told what to ask and they simply report the response you give. And the fact is that people DO lie to us to try to deceive us. That’s the whole point of what we do. We cannot just assume “oh this lady is nice, I’m sure she’s telling the truth”. Obviously there are times where wires get crossed with relatives and such. I had a case recently where a name search popped up with the lady’s sister’s name. I asked if she’d used the name in the past, she said something akin to “oh, no that’s my sister. Not sure why that would come up as me.” And I wrote that down and we moved on.


I’m sure your investigator loved being taught about how public databases work. As others have said, they don’t pull that research and they’re just doing their jobs.


My usual experience is having the Subject tell me during the family section, “are you interested that I was adopted?” after I had earlier asked if they have ever used any other names.

When other names pop up, from, a multitude of sources, we ask you about them for clarification.

This is normally to your advantage as it gives you the chance to clarify a name or decline any knowledge. Yes, sometimes the name versions are obvious, but I have to ask just in case that is the .001 time the obvious is wrong.

Not initially listing all of your names delays your case because we redo all name based record searches with the new name(s).


I appreciate the time you took to answer my post. I did not know or understood BI research process. I thought they did their own research based on the employee’s SF86 info. I learned something new. Again thanks!

The BI asked me for a variation of my name with a K as middle name. I have never used that name. Also neither my parents nor my both set of grandparents have a last name or name that start with a K nor my husband’s family. However I‘ve seen it on People search. Where do they get that middle name? I have no clue. After the interview I was curious if that person had committed a crime or fraud so I search everywhere on the web but I could not find anything.

The name variations can come from credit reports (how they end up on People Search), court records, loan applications, bank loans, school records, employment records, apartment applications, ID theft, magazine subscriptions, etc. Your sibling and family names could be crossed with your social security number or address in the credit reports, etc.

I have also seen where family members names have been smooshed together. For example: Mary Jo Smith, III (Father was the III).

There is a whole team that does your background investigation. The field investigator is the most expensive part of the process, with the most responsibility to provide a full, unbiased, report to the adjudicator/agency.


Oh my gosh :woman_facepalming:t3::joy: I’ve had a lot of similar experiences that just leave me shaking my head​:joy:

If you finance your car purchase and the car dealer carelessly makes a mistake recording your name, it will show on your credit report. Same for store credit cards, etc. Not sure how the public databases link you to the wrong people as relatives. I don’t recall ever confronting a SUBECT on a discrepant relative from any source other than their previous background investigation’s security questionnaire.


Just as an example . . . I do not remember EVER using my middle name. Always just the initial because I hate my middle name (I’m not telling!) But, I don’t think that I would be surprised if somewhere in my past, school records, marriage and divorce records (hey . . . I’m not perfect), my full name would show up somewhere. Of course, my middle name is listed on birth certificate. I also ALWAYS use the “third”. My grandfather didn’t pass away until I was in my 30’s so there were three of us applying for credit and driver’s licenses and such during the same periods so I always tried to differentiate myself from the other two and they from me. But, there certainly could be something else out there and I know that there are Ed Farmers living in NJ which I am not related to.

I’m doing this from memory but I believe that my investigator asked me if I ever used “Edward Farmer”. I said, “No . . . my name is Edwin.” End of questions.


BI did not bring up the linked relative from the people search records. I brought that up as an example of the wrong info in public records. It seems people think we are related because we have the same last name. He works for a DoD contractor in town. My next door neighbor knows him.

OTOH I have met at the DoD component where I work a lot of military with my same last name that are from the same city/ state and they don’t show up as relatives. So who knows how those public databases gathered or linked their info.