How to Fix Misinformation in Your Employment Background Check

Most employers require background checks, and if your background check has mistakes in it, it could seriously hurt your chances of getting a job. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to run a background check on yourself before you start applying for a new job.

Run Your Own Background Check

Errors in background checks are not uncommon. But, these errors don’t need to cause you lost job opportunities if you run your own background check and correct any errors before a potential employer has a chance to see them. Be sure to check the report over very carefully so that you can have any errors in the report corrected. Also, make sure you use a consumer reporting agency that is FCRA-compliant. Online background checks that are marketed solely to consumers may not have the same information that would be contained in a background check obtained by a potential employer. However, by using an FCRA-compliant consumer reporting agency, you can ensure you are looking at the same information a potential employer would see.

Once you receive your background check, look for these common errors:

  • A misspelled name
  • A forged signature
  • Inaccurate claims of loans or credit cards not being paid
  • A license that was falsely taken out in your name being suspended
  • The wrong Social Security number
  • A warrant that was issued for a bad check you didn’t write

One way you can help ensure your employer obtains the correct information is to give your employer some identifying information other than your name.

Correcting Errors in a Background Check

If your employer runs a background check and decides not to hire you based on information you know is false, you do have the right to dispute the information and correct it. So, if you have this problem, be sure to take the following steps.

  • Make sure your employer follows the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). An employer must notify you by letter that they may not hire you due to information found in your background check. Then, they must give you five business days to respond to this notice. After this, the employer will give you a copy of the report, a summary of your rights under the FCRA, and the contact information for the credit reporting agency from which they obtained the report.
  • Look for common background check errors. Some of the more common errors are the report being on a different person with the same name, misdemeanors being listed as felonies, sealed or expunged information being listed in the report, arrests in which there was no conviction being listed, or a single criminal charge being listed more than once.
  • Look for the source of the error. The best way to find out the source of the error is to contact the reporting agency that made the report. They should be able to tell you where they obtained the information.
  • Report identity theft if you believe it has occurred. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has guidelines you can follow if you find signs of identity theft.

The potential employer is not allowed to hire someone else during the dispute process. They can continue the hiring process after the dispute is resolved.

Final Thoughts

Although it is possible to correct errors that your potential employer finds, it is far better to run your own background check and correct any errors before your potential employer sees the report. This can avoid any negative impressions the incorrect report may cause as well as the inconvenience and delay in hiring that may result.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


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