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Inaccurate Background Checks

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Criminal background checks run by employers on applicants that contain erroneous information can cost applicants a chance at jobs and people who fall victim to these inaccurate background checks should be pro-active in correcting them, according to an article by Forbes Staff Writer Susan Adams.

In the article on, Adams tells the story of one victim of inaccurate background checks who underwent a criminal background check for a job as a doorman but was turned down when his report contained the criminal record of another person with the same first and last name. He had no time to set the record straight and the firm supplying the background check report said he had to correct false information himself.

The article features advice from Legal Action Center legal director Sally Friedman who explains the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that people have the opportunity to correct inaccurate background checks and to get a copy of background check report given to employers. Friedman also offers the following five suggestions to people who fall victim to inaccurate background checks:

  • 1. Contact the company performing the background check about the report and get names, keep notes, and preserve emails.
  • 2. Contact the court that contains the criminal record that does not belong in background check report and ask for information about the conviction.
  • 3. Fine proof that the criminal record does not belong in background check report. If supposedly spending time in jail in the report, show pay stubs or income tax returns to prove innocence.
  • 4. Alert potential employers to the problem and confirm that they are holding the job open until resolution with incorrect information with the background check.
  • 5. Submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal agency that oversees providers of background checks for employment purposes.

The article by Adams also recommends employers look at the best practices manual for criminal background checks put together by the Legal Action Center’s National Hire Network, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and National Workrights Institute in collaboration with background screening companies Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and CARCO Group.

The article on by Susan Adams titled ‘How A Criminal Background Check Can Cost You The Job’ is available at The report ‘Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring’ is available at

More ESR News Blogs about Inaccurate Background Checks

More ESR News blogs about Inaccurate Background Checks are available at



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