All posts by Les Rosen

American Meat Industry CEO Addresses Importance of Employment Verification with E-Verify

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff

Noting that polling shows Americans think immigration laws need reform but Congress has yet to translate national sentiment into action, the leading voice of the American Meat Industry (AMI) – the nation’s oldest and largest meat and poultry trade association – believes the reauthorization and improvement of the online employment verification system E-Verify could be a big step forward for comprehensive immigration reform.

In a guest editorial in the Austin (TX) American-Statesman – “The Importance of Employment Verification” – AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle notes “E-Verify is the only electronic data-based system available to ensure that employers hire only those authorized to work in the United States” and that “like a merchant can swipe a credit card when a purchase is made – and that purchase is either authorized or not – E-Verify allows employers to verify the social security numbers of new employees after they are hired.”

Among the key points that Boyle makes in the commentary concerning the importance of employment verification and E-Verify – an Internet-based system run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) using government databases – are:

  • E-Verify can be the cornerstone of border control since the system helps prevent undocumented workers from obtaining U.S. jobs, thus lowering the enticement for those workers to sneak into the county or overstay their expired visas.
  • E-Verify can curb possible discrimination against workers by putting the onus on the federal government to either grant or withhold permission for new employees to work after employers send data to E-Verify for employment verification.
  • E-Verify can prevent the “Catch-22” situation U.S. employers face daily under current law – they can be fined if they hire an undocumented worker but also can be subjected to civil rights charges if they investigate an employee too much without cause – by taking the guesswork out of the hiring and offering employers a “safe harbor” from such prosecutions when E-Verify becomes mandatory.
  • E-Verify can help the tens of millions of unemployed Americans and legal residents by ensuring their jobs are not taken by undocumented workers or that certain employers don’t undercut their wages by hiring undocumented workers.

According to Boyle, the AMI recently asked Congress to mandate E-Verify use after urging industry-wide use for a decade. However, E-Verify needs changes including enhancing its capacity to eliminate border fraud, addressing a growing number of state and local laws, and phasing in any mandatory E-Verify system use over several years to allow smaller companies time to adapt.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify employment verification system, visit


FTC Requiring Businesses Extending Credit To Customers To Follow Red Flags Rule For Identity Theft Starting June 1

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

With identity theft on the rise – a recent survey found the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the U.S. increased 12 percent to affect over 11 million adults in 2009 – the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is requiring businesses that extend credit to customers to develop plans to detect and prevent identity theft beginning June 1, 2010.

The FTC delayed enforcement of this “Red Flags” Rule until June 1, 2010 at the request of Congress after the Rule was published under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) in which Congress directed the FTC to develop regulations for “financial institutions” and “creditors” that have “covered accounts” to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs to help identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or specific activities – or “red flags” – that may indicate identity theft.

According to a “Facts For Businesses” page on the FTC website, the Red Flags Rule for implementing a written identity theft prevention program applies to “financial institutions” and “creditors” with “covered accounts,” and the FTC warns that these terms may apply to groups that might not typically use those words to describe themselves.

  • The Red Flags Rule defines a “financial institution” as banks, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, credit unions, or any person, directly or indirectly, holding a transaction account belonging to a consumer.
  • The Red Flags Rule definition of “creditor” is broad and includes businesses or organizations that regularly defer payment for goods or services or provide goods or services and bill customers later. Utility companies, health care providers, and telecommunications companies may fall within this definition. Creditors also include those who regularly grant loans, arrange for loans, or extend credit.
  • The Red Flags Rule defines that term “covered accounts” as 1.) A consumer account primarily designed to permit multiple payments or transactions such as credit card accounts, mortgage/auto loans, and cell phone, utility, and checking and savings accounts; and 2.) Any account for which there is a foreseeable risk to customers or to the financial institution or creditor from identity theft.

Beginning June 1, the Red Flags Rule requires “financial institutions” and “creditors” with “covered accounts” described above to develop, implement, and administer Identity Theft Prevention Programs that include four basic elements to address the threat of identity theft: Indentify, Detect, Prevent, and Update.

  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must include reasonable policies and procedures to identify the “red flags” of identity theft, the suspicious patterns and practices, or specific activities, that may indicate the possibility of identity theft.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must be designed to detect the red flags identified, and have procedures in place to help in the detection of red flags.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must spell out the appropriate response to take when red flags are detected to prevent and mitigate identity theft.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program should go through a periodic update to reflect new risks from identity theft since this crime is an ever-changing threat.

In addition, the Red Flags Rule written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to prevent, detect, and mitigate identity theft in connection with the opening of new accounts and the operation of existing ones must be appropriate to the size and complexity of the business or organization and the scope of its activities. A company with a higher risk of identity theft or a variety of covered accounts may need a more comprehensive Identity Theft Prevention Program.

For information about identity theft and the Red Flags Rule, visit or Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Bill Would Strengthen Accuracy of Employment Background Checks Using FBI Criminal Database

By Les Rosen, President of ESR & Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Employers that rely on criminal records databases to conduct background checks on potential employees also rely on the accuracy of the information in those databases. Now a federal bill introduced in the House would help to strengthen the accuracy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) criminal records database by requiring the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to verify that crime data contained in the FBI’s database is up to date.

As reported on, the Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2010 (H.R.5300) – which would provide safeguards with respect to the FBI criminal background checks prepared for employment purposes – would require the attorney general to find out from court offices, even those in state and local jurisdictions, the outcome of arrests when an employer requests a background check.

In addition, the attorney general would update that record in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, and would have 10 days to update the record after discovering an arrest was dismissed in court before responding to the employer’s request.

According to, employers consult the FBI’s NCIC database – which is a computerized index of criminal justice information available to Federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – to conduct background checks on individuals applying for jobs in law enforcement and security, and for jobs working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly.

The bill H.R.5300 was introduced in response to “The Attorney General’s Report on Criminal History Background Checks” in 2006 that showed nearly 50 percent of criminal records maintained in the NCIC database failed to note court decisions to dismiss arrests, reported. To help avoid inaccurate or incomplete employment background checks, the legislation would give job applicants the opportunity to challenge the accuracy and completeness of background check reports done through the FBI records database. If criminal records are challenged, the attorney general would have 30 days to investigate, make changes, and report those changes to the applicant and the employer.

Some background check experts agree the Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2010 may help fill the gaps in the FBI’s criminal database.

“Although the NCIC data is the closet thing that exists to a national criminal database, it is not nearly as complete as portrayed in the movies,” stated Les Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide employment screening company. “Many records of crime do not make it into the system because of the chain of events that must happen in multiple jurisdictions in order for a crime to appear in NCIC.” 

According to Rosen, author of The Safe Hiring Manual: How To Keep Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace, employers cannot even access the NCIC unless they are specifically authorized to by law. “There is simply no national computer database of all criminal records available to private employers,” says Rosen.

A 2005 report – “The National Crime Information Center: A Review and Evaluation” – sponsored by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), of which Rosen is a past co-chair, reviewed the NCIC to evaluate its effectiveness in maintaining accurate and complete criminal history records. Among the findings of the NAPBS report were:

  • Many states did not report information concerning dispositions, declinations to prosecute, failure to charge after fingerprinting, and expungements.
  • Inconsistency in the reporting requirements and criminal codes in various states impacted the completeness and accuracy of the records.
  • There were significant time lapses between when information was transmitted to the state repository and actual entry into the criminal history records.
  • The format and terminology used by the various states created problems of interpretation for individuals in other states using the information.

For more information on the FBI’s NCIC criminal records database – and the reasons why the information contained in that database is sometimes not always entirely accurate – visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Maryland Colleges May Be Required to Conduct Background Checks on Students

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

After the University of Virginia’s president recently announced that the school would perform background checks on students in the wake of the tragic murder of a female student – allegedly at the hands of a fellow student – lawmakers in neighboring Maryland may soon require that universities in that state conduct background checks on students.

According to a report on WJLA ABC 7 News in Arlington, Virginia, the suspect in the University of Virginia killing – a male lacrosse player the same age as the victim, 22, who was also a lacrosse player – was arrested in 2008 after a drunken altercation with a police officer. But the accused killer failed to tell university officials about the arrest.

Presently, according to the WJLA report, many universities – like the University of Maryland – merely ask students if they have a criminal history. If students admit to a crime, school officials say that they are screened further. Otherwise, officials at the university may not know if students have previous convictions.

Upon hearing that Maryland’s state lawmakers may require state universities to conduct background checks on students, some interviewed in the article agreed that background checks for college students are a good idea. “If they have a history you can say maybe there’s a pattern…” one person said, “and they won’t do it again.”

WJLA reports officials at Frostburg State University in Glen Burnie, Maryland were considering whether the school should seek criminal information from applicants before a recent off-campus shooting during which one student at the school died and another was injured. However, the alleged shooter in that case did not have a criminal history.

WJLA also reports that it has not heard of any current plans at the University of Maryland to require background checks on students.

For more information on background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


DOT Launches Pre-Employment Screening Program for Commercial Motor Carriers and Drivers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Citing safety as its highest priority, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) which allows commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process.

According to a DOT news release, the Pre-Employment Screening Program “sends a strong message to commercial carriers and drivers” that the government agency “is serious about having the safest drivers behind the wheel of large trucks and buses.” Commercial carriers now have “an essential tool for making informed hiring decisions that will lead to safer drivers on our roads,” FMCSA officials say, and the PSP “raises the safety bar for the motor carrier industry and helps to make our roads safer for everyone.”

To better assess the potential safety risks of prospective driver-employees, each Driver Information Resource (DIR) record contains the most recent five years of crash data and three years of roadside inspection data regardless of the state or jurisdiction. Drivers also have opportunities to verify their driving history data and correct any discrepancies. In addition, a driver’s records will be protected in accordance with federal privacy laws.

According to the Pre-Employment Screening Program page on the DOT website, the PSP helps motor carriers make more informed hiring decisions by providing electronic access to a driver’s crash and inspection history from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) which is comprised of driver performance data including:

  • Inspection and compliance review results;
  • Enforcement data;
  • State-reported crashes, and;
  • Motor carrier census data.

For more details on the PSP, visit

For more information about pre-employment screening and background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


CA Poll Shows 86 Percent of People More Likely to Frequent Businesses Using E-Verify

by Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

When asked if they would be ‘more or less likely’ to frequent a business displaying an E-Verify sticker ensuring that it uses the government’s employment eligibility verification system, a vast majority of respondents – 86 percent – said they would be ‘more likely’ to frequent such a business, according to an online poll from a leading Southern California newspaper.

The poll from the Orange County Register came about after the San Juan Capistrano (CA) City Council decided not to issue identifying stickers to businesses that use E-Verify – an Internet-based electronic employment eligibility verification system run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – to screen potential employees for illegal immigrants and make sure all workers are legally eligible to work in the United States as required by federal law. asked in a poll posted from April 26 to May 11: “Would you be more or less likely to frequent a business displaying an E-Verify sticker?” The results were:

  • More likely to frequent a business displaying an E-Verify sticker: 86%
  • Less likely to frequent a business displaying an E-Verify sticker: 11%
  • The remainder of the respondents said ‘No effect’

According to a related article in the OC Register, the Mayor of San Juan Capistrano had proposed city-issued E-Verify stickers for businesses using the employment eligibility verification system, and those renewing their business licenses with the city could check a box on the license application promising to screen employees through E-Verify.

Council members who opposed the idea said the E-Verify stickers could cause a stigma for non-participating businesses and could lead to a city mandate requiring them to use the E-Verify stickers, the OC Register reported. Currently the city government and 20 businesses use the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, visit


Alleged Crime by Census Worker Casts Spotlight on Government Background Checks

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

In the wake of a census worker being accused of assaulting a young disabled woman in southern Indiana, questions have arisen about security issues surrounding the government background checks of the thousands of workers for the once-in-a-decade U.S. Census.

According to a report on the WRTV Indianapolis News website, the mother of a disabled 21-year-old woman in Pekin, IN told police that her daughter was raped and beaten by a 39-year-old male census worker who had come to the family’s home last week asking for census information and then returned early Saturday morning and assaulted her daughter.

The County Sheriff was quoted in the story as saying the accused census worker – who Census officials said started working for the agency two weeks ago – gave the victim a black eye and tried to strangle her, and that there are marks around her neck. Police also said the man left his wallet, which had his driver’s license, on the victim’s bedroom floor.

According to officials, the U.S. Census Bureau performs stringent FBI background checks and “turns away anyone who fails check out OK.” Census workers should never ask to come inside a home, and should show an official identification badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and carry a black census bag with titling and a seal. Anyone suspecting a census worker of inappropriate behavior should call the Bureau.

An employee at the Chicago Regional Census Center said the background screening process for prospective census workers is more rigorous than ever, WRTV reported. An applicant’s name, birth date, and Social Security Number go through an FBI criminal records check and other background checks. This year, fingerprints of prospective census workers are submitted to the FBI and checked against the FBI’s fingerprint database.

According to the ‘Background Check FAQ’ page of the website, the Census Bureau takes public trust seriously and works to ensure that temporary workers undergo the most thorough and accurate background checks possible. The Census Hiring and Employment Check (CHEC) Branch of the Administrative and Management Systems Division (AMSD) performs background checks for all applicants and employees.

Applicants for temporary Census jobs go through a name check against the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Name Index. The FBI database is searched to see if it contains a criminal history record file that matches an applicant’s name, date of birth, and social security number. This criminal history record file contains records of individuals that have been arrested and fingerprinted. All employees are fingerprinted on their first day of training and the fingerprint card(s) are submitted to FBI for processing.

For more information on FBI database criminal background checks, and how these federal crime databases can sometimes have inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading information, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Federal Bill Seeks To Ban Credit Report Checks for Most Employment Screening

By Les Rosen, President of ESR & Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Employers may have one less employment screening tool at their disposal if a federal bill banning credit checks during most employment background checks becomes law.

Recent legislative efforts throughout the country have sought to ban credit reports from the employment screening process. Three states — Washington, Hawaii, and Oregon — currently have restrictions on an employer’s use of the credit history of an applicant or employee in making employment-related decisions. There is even pending legislation at the federal level — HR 3149, which is currently in committee — to limit credit checks.

Now Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced a senate bill — SA 3795 — as part of an amendment to the S.3217 – Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 bill, an effort by lawmakers to improve accountability and transparency in the financial system and to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices. 

Much like the pending HR 3149, SA 3795 would restrict employers from using aconsumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, in making any employment decision or for the basis of taking any adverse action even if the employer gets authorization for the background check report from the consumer. The exceptions to this prohibition on credit checks during employment screening would be for:

  • National security or FDIC clearance;
  • Employment with state or local government agency which requires the use of this information;
  • Employment in a management position with access to customer funds at a financial institution; or
  • As otherwise required by law.

Because Senator Feinstein’s amendment to the Financial Services reform bill would effectively prohibit the use of credit history in employment background checks except in extremely limited circumstances — mostly government employment — trade associations representing millions of employers are planning to write members of the U.S. Senate to express opposition to banning the use of credit checks for employment purposes.

Employers argue that credit checks during employment screening are done responsibly, and are not barriers to employment. They may check credit history during background checks to help them determine whether a prospective employee is a possible risk to the financial health of a business or to its customers. Prohibiting credit checks in screening makes employers, other employees, and customers vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.

Also, employment credit checks are not as common as most people think, according to a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that found only 13% of organizations conducted credit checks on all job candidates while 40% did not conduct any credit checks. Of the 47% of organizations that did perform credit checks on selected job candidates, most were for executive positions, positions with financial responsibility, or for positions with access to confidential or proprietary information.

Unfortunately, personal financial health can be an indictor of potential employee fraud. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reviewed occupational fraud between 2006 and 2008, and found that the top two “red flag” warnings exhibited by perpetrators of fraud leading to the crime were instances of living beyond their financial means (39% of cases) or experiencing financial difficulties (34% of cases). 

While it is wrong to say all financial difficulties lead to fraud, some employers believe it is also wrong for Congress to undercut fraud prevention by outlawing the use of credit report information that may show a correlation between past behavior and future fraud. Credit checks of potential employees protect companies — particularly small businesses — from fraud. According to ACFE, the median loss suffered by organizations with fewer than 100 employees was $190,000 per incident, higher than median losses in large organizations. Overall, employee theft accounted for over $15 billion in losses annually, with companies losing a median of 5% of their annual revenue to employee fraud.

Consumers have significant protections when employers use credit reports during background checks as part of their hiring process, as the use of consumer reports in employment situations is tightly regulated:

  • Prior to requesting a consumer credit report, an employer must provide to the prospective employee a written notice stating the source of the information and how it will be used.
  • The employer must also provide a copy of the consumer credit report to the consumer upon request, and prior to taking an adverse action.
  • If an adverse employment action is taken against a prospective employee due to the information contained in a consumer credit report, the user must provide the name and contact information for the reporting agency to the consumer and explain the reasons for the action.
  • Under the FCRA, any person who willfully fails to comply is liable to that consumer in an amount equal to the sum of (1) (A) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or damages of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000; or (2) such amount of punitive damages as the court may allow; and (3) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court.
  • Credit scores are not provided to employers for employment decisions. 

For more information on credit reports, background checks, and employee theft and fraud, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


University To Perform Background Checks On Students Following Tragic Death of Student

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

According to reports from and the Washington Post, the University of Virginia will perform background checks on all students at the school following the alleged murder of a 22-year-old female student and lacrosse player, possibly at the hands of her former boyfriend, a 22-year-old fellow student who was also a lacrosse player.

In the wake of the tragic death, the Virginia Governor and University of Virginia President will discuss tougher laws on how to protect students from violence. The Baltimore Sun reported that: Among the topics may be legislation requiring police to report student arrests to the university.

The accused ex-boyfriend  who reportedly had a violent streak  had attacked the victim two months earlier at a party, according to an eyewitness account in the Washington Post, an incident that was never reported to police or school officials.

The suspected killer also had a run-in with the police before his ex-girlfriend’s death, according to the Post, something a routine background check would have uncovered. He was arrested in 2008 after threatening to kill a female police officer and ended up Tasered and handcuffed. He later pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and resisting arrest.

According to theses reports, the University President admitted the school was unaware of the accused killer’s criminal past. He also said that, under school policy, students are required to self-report arrests and convictions, and a regulation in the student code of regulations requires that kind of report. However, the suspect in the beating death failed to report his previous arrest, and no one at the University checked up on him. In addition, the University’s police department never received any notice of that arrest, and the athletic coaches at the school had no knowledge of it or whether it had been disclosed.

The Post reported that the University President that there were gaps in this system and that the school would begin, at a minimum, to screen students  not just athletes with background checks against a state law enforcement database before each semester.

For more information on background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


FTC Offers Facts for Consumers about Credit Reports and Employment Background Checks

By Les Rosen, President of ESR & Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – the nation’s consumer protection agency – issued “FTC Facts For Consumers” in May 2010 that explains “Credit Reports and Employment Background Checks” to consumers who have applied for jobs.

Although the new FTC notice  has been criticized for containing some information that is  technically inaccurate, it still provides helpful information for consumers.

The FTC asks consumers the following question about background checks and credit reports:

Did you know that when you apply for a job, an employer is permitted to do a background check before hiring you? Depending on the employer and the job, that background information might include your employment history, your driving record, and your credit report.

A credit report, according to the FTC, has information about where a consumer lives, how they pay bills, whether they have been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit report companies sell the information in credit reports to employers and other businesses that use that information to evaluate applications for employment, credit, insurance, or renting a place to live. Employers also are allowed to use credit reports to evaluate an employee for retention, promotion, or reassignment.

The FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law that protects the privacy and accuracy of the information in a consumer’s credit report. The FCRA spells out the rights of a job applicant and an employer’s responsibilities when using credit reports and other background check information to assess an application for employment.

The FTC also details key employment provisions of the FCRA, most notably that employers must get permission from job applicants before asking for background check reports about them from a credit reporting company or any other company that provides background check information.

In addition, if an applicant does not get a job because of information in a background check report, the employer has certain legal obligations: 1.) an employer must show applicant the report, and 2.) the employer must tell the applicant how to get his or her own copy. The report is free if the applicant asks for it within 60 days.

The FTC provides more details about these key provisions:

  • Notice and Authorization: Before an employer can ask for credit report or background check report about an applicant from any companies that provide them, it must tell the applicant that it might use the information to make an employment decision.
  • Pre-Adverse Action Procedures: If an employer might use information from a credit report or background check report to take an “adverse action” – for example, to deny an application for employment – the employer must give the applicant a copy of the background check report and a document called ‘A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act’ before taking the adverse action.
  • Adverse Action Procedures: If an employer takes an adverse action against an applicant based on information in a credit report or background check report, it must notify the applicant and that notice must include: 1.) the name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the credit report or background check report information; 2.) a statement that the company that supplied the credit report or background check report didn’t make the decision to take the adverse action and can’t give the applicant any specific reasons for it; and 3.) a notice of the applicant’s right to dispute the accuracy of any information in the credit report or background check report and to get an additional free report from the company that supplied the credit report or background check report if he or she asks for it within 60 days.

To fix any inaccurate or incomplete information in a background check report, the FTC advises the applicant to contact the background check company that issued the report and dispute the information. If an investigation reveals that a correction is warranted, the company must send an updated report to the employer if asked to do so.

In addition, a ‘Notice of Negative Public Records’ requires that if a company provides an employer with a credit report or background check report that has negative information about an applicant gathered from public records, that company either has to tell the applicant that it provided the information to the employer or has to take special steps to make sure the information is accurate.

The FTC also warns that there are legal consequences for employers who don’t comply with the FCRA if they:

  • Fail to get an applicant’s okay before getting a copy of their credit report or background check report;
  • Fail to provide the appropriate disclosures in a timely way, or;
  • Fail to provide adverse action notices to unsuccessful job applicants.

The FTC advises applicants to report FCRA violations by employers because the law allows the FTC, other federal agencies, and states to sue employers who don’t comply with the law’s provisions. The FCRA also allows people to sue employers in state or federal court for certain violations.

Before applying for a job, the FTC suggests jobseekers order a free copy of their credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – that are required by law to provide consumers once every 12 months (if the consumers ask). To order free credit reports, consumers should visit at, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

For more information about the use of credit reports during background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at

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