Background Check Firms Under Greater Scrutiny In Wake of 2.6 Million Dollar Penalty for Alleged FCRA Violations

A recent featured article on – ‘Background Screening Firms Face Increased Scrutiny’ – tells how background check firms are being watched more closely in the wake of a $2.6 million civil penalty against a leading screening firm by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The article also reveals background check experts such as Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), are suggesting employers should be more diligent in hiring screening firms and should “screen the screeners.” The Workforce article is available at:

In the Workforce article, Rosen says employers need “to kick the tires and make sure they ask enough questions” about the background check firms they may want to use for employment screening. “Clients have been asking about it,” he says, referring to the penalty against the screening firm – which did not admit any wrongdoing – for failing to use reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of information. “They want to make sure nothing is happening similar to what FTC alleged,” adds Rosen, author of the newly updated second edition of his comprehensive book on background screening, ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ due to be published October 2012. For more information about the book, visit:

As reported on the ESR News blog in August 2012, ‘Background Screening Company to Pay 2.6 Million Dollar Penalty to Settle FTC Charges of Multiple FCRA Violations,’ the FTC charged that the background screening firm – also known as a consumer reporting agency (“CRA”) – violated the FCRA as required by law by failing to use reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of information it provided, failing to give consumers copies of their reports, and failing to reinvestigate consumer disputes. A press release from the FTC about the settlement is available at: A copy of the Stipulated Final Judgment and Order for Civil Penalties, Permanent Injunction, and Other Equitable Relief is available at:

Rosen also tells Workforce that he believes the new accreditation program for background screeners offered by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) is an effective way of giving employers some peace of mind regarding the quality of screening services. “The accreditation process is extremely intensive,” he says. “It’s the best way of ensuring that a background screening firm is providing accurate information in compliance with all the various laws that are involved.” Rosen served as the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS and served as the first co-chair. His company, Employment Screening Resources (ESR), is accredited by the NAPBS. For more information, visit:

In 2010, the NAPBS – a non-profit trade association representing the screening industry – launched the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) to promote consumer protection, best practices, and legal compliance. The NAPBS Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) ensures that a screening firm seeking accreditation meets or exceeds measurable standards of competence. To become accredited, background screening firms must pass an onsite audit conducted by an independent auditing firm that examines policies and procedures related to six critical areas of background screening: consumer protection, legal compliance, client education, product standards, service standards, and general business practices. More information is available on the NAPBS website at

Rosen founded ESR in 1997 to ensure safe workplaces for employers, employees, and the public. For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the NAPBS – at, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email


About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more, visit, call 888.999.4474, or email

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit