There are many companies with the same name, and many more people. How do you know you're looking at the right one?
Using Unique Identifiers
It is essential that you take the time to carefully disambiguate every entity you investigate. The strongest disambiguations will use a unique identifier (e.g. national ID numbers, company name in China) or combinations of identifiers (e.g. full name + date of birth + citizenship).
Examples of unique identifiers*:
- Company names and Uniform Social Credit Numbers in China
- National ID Numbers for companies and individuals in Iran
- RFCs for companies and individuals in Mexico
- CURPs for individuals in Mexico
- Tax ID Numbers (INN) for companies and individuals in Russia
Examples of identifiers that are not unique and should not be used as the sole basis of disambiguation:
- Iranian Registration Numbers
- Reason for Registration Code (KPP) in Russia
- Electronic Business Folio Number (FME) in Mexico
* remember that even unique identifiers sometimes are recycled after a company's closure or person's death.
More Complex Disambiguations
Complex disambiguations are required when identifiers are scarce. In these cases, it is helpful to think about the following:
- Shared selectors. Shared names and selectors, such as addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses, can indicate that two individuals or companies are the same. However, it is important to remember that selectors are not necessarily unique. Timeline is important here: did these two people by the same name use this address at the same time, or ten years apart?
- Co-occurrence in relationships. If we find two individuals named Maria Fernandez who own two different Mexican companies, we can't say with confidence these are the same person. But if we find two Mexican companies owned by someone named Maria Fernandez and four other individuals with the same names, it is more likely those are the same five individuals. What if we found ten companies, all in Mexico, all owned by five people with the same names?
- Corporate structures. Does the corporate extension match the company you are looking for? If not, it may be a similarly named but legally distinct company.
- Business activities or industries of operation. Is an individual with the same name on two companies in Ukraine that both conduct business in the extraction of metal ores? If so, is it more likely that those two individuals are the same person?
- The uniqueness of names in a specific context or jurisdiction. For example, in Lebanon, you can use voter rolls to determine exactly how many individuals by a certain name are citizens and lend more confidence to your assessments. The entire Lebanese voter roll is available in Sayari Search!
If there is any doubt about a disambiguation, it is best practice to consider those entities as separate but possibly linked.