Victim of Inaccurate Background Check Information? We Can Help

Last Updated:
April 20, 2023

Practically every employer uses background checks to verify the job histories, financial responsibility, and criminal records of job candidates. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if your background check returns accurate, up-to-date information.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Many victims of inaccurate background check information lose job opportunities and miss out on the chance for employment because background screening companies make mistakes. Read on to discover how educated background check lawyers like Fair Credit can help you fight back if this happens to you.

What is Inaccurate Background Check Information?

Inaccurate background check information is any background check info that is:

  • Out of date

For instance, if you have a bankruptcy from 10 years ago, it should have already vanished from your records. If it appears on your background check, it could be considered inaccurate

  • Mistaken

Say that you receive a background check report noting two counts of financial fraud. You know that you were never convicted of fraud at all, but this erroneous information costs you a job opportunity

  • Someone else’s

For example, if your name is identical to that of another person, the background check agency might confuse the two of you and present the other person’s background information as your own, resulting in confusion and retraction of job offers.

In any of these cases and more, inaccurate background check information can be disastrous, especially if you are applying for an important job position.

Can Mistaken Background Check Info Hurt Your Job Hunt?

Yes. Mistaken background check info can and often does hurt job hunts.

Imagine a scenario where you apply for a job opportunity, only to discover that you have been denied on the basis of your background information. When you examine the background check report, you find that it includes information about a criminal conviction. You know that you were never convicted of a crime, but your employer doesn’t. Because of this, that prospective employer chooses not to offer you the great job.

Because erroneous background check information can harm your job prospects, you are protected against it under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. Under this legislation, organizations like employers and lending institutions must only use accurate and up-to-date background check information when making decisions.

If they use inaccurate information, you have the right to dispute that info and correct it at the earliest opportunity. Furthermore, if a background screening agency, credit check organization, or employer refuses to use accurate information or fix an error, they are in direct violation of your rights and might be liable for a lawsuit.

Why Do Background Check Companies Make Mistakes?

Background check companies are staffed by humans, so they make errors from time to time. Indeed, background check mistakes can occur for a variety of reasons, like:

  • Human accident

For example, an employee of the background check company might confuse your identity with that of another person. This simple mistake can have major consequences for your job hunt, however

  • Computer errors

Sometimes, old files or computer programs transpose letters or numbers, causing major mishaps in terms of organization and background check compilation

  • Laziness

In the worst cases, background check companies might simply refuse to do their due diligence and thoroughly investigate job candidates. In these instances, they are ultimately and completely responsible for any errors that affect your job hunt

No matter the reason for a background check error or inaccurate information, you always have the right to dispute that information and get it fixed. If a company refuses to do this, they are in direct violation of your consumer rights and could be held liable for a lawsuit and damages.

What to Do if You’re the Victim of Mistaken Background Check Information

If you believe you've been victimized by mistaken, out-of-date, or otherwise erroneous background check info, you do have options.

Check Your Background Check Report 

It all starts by checking your background check report. When an employer considers or decides not to offer you employment because of your background check, they have to tell you that via a pre-adverse and adverse action letter, respectively.

Both versions of this letter will state that your employer has taken your background info into account and decided not to offer you a job because of it. It should include a copy of the background check report they received, including some of the details.

You can dive into the background check report and make sure it doesn’t include any erroneous information. If the information is mistaken in some area, you can tell your employer that right away. Many employers, upon hearing this, will hold off on final job hiring decisions until you complete the background check dispute process.

File a Dispute Letter

Your next step to fight back is to file a dispute letter with the background check agency responsible for the confusion.

Your pre-adverse or adverse action letter should include the name and contact information of the background screening company the employer used for this service. Visit the company’s website to file a dispute online – while you can also do so using physical mail, filing online is much faster and more convenient.

In your dispute letter, you should include:

  • A breakdown of the situation
  • Specifics about the erroneous information
  • Any proof you can provide backing up your claim, although it’s not necessary – it’s the job of the background check agency to investigate the erroneous information and discover the truth

Once you file a dispute letter, the background check agency has 30 business days to investigate the matter and get back to you under the FCRA. If they refuse to do so, or if they find the erroneous information but refuse to correct it, move on to the next step.

Contact Attorneys

Background check attorneys specialize in the FCRA and other consumer rights laws. Therefore, if a background screening agency is giving you trouble or has violated your rights in any way, you should contact these lawyers right away.

Knowledgeable attorneys can both help you complete the dispute process, speak to the background check agency, and break down further legal options. For instance, if a background screening agency refuses to look into a claim of erroneous information, you could take them to court or file an official complaint with the FTC.

Regardless, your background check lawyers will tell you the best decision based on your finances, timeline, and personal desires. For instance, if you have some evidence but not enough to sway a court, they may recommend arbitration instead of an outright lawsuit, especially since the latter legal course of action usually costs more than the former.

The Benefits of Hiring Background Check Attorneys

There are lots of benefits to hiring experienced, knowledgeable background check attorneys for your upcoming case, whether you need to dispute background check info, credit check information, or something else.

Specialized Expertise

For starters, the right attorneys can bring a lot of specialized expertise to your case file. Background check attorneys focus exclusively on consumer rights laws, like the FCRA. As a result, they have seen cases just like yours and know what to say, how to say it, and the evidence that they need to gather in order to strengthen and substantiate your case.

Evidence-Gathering Assistance

Speaking of gathering evidence, background check attorneys can assist by ensuring you get the right evidence before filing your dispute letter. Evidence can include birth records, previous background screening reports, court orders, and much more.

All of that can be difficult if not impossible to acquire a loan, especially if you are still trying to get a job or are juggling other major family responsibilities. With a law firm working for you, you can trust that your lawyers will take care of all that legwork so you can focus on other aspects of your life. 

This is a core component of the peace of mind that background check attorneys bring to consumers just like you.

Court Representation

What if you want to sue a background check agency for not investigating a dispute claim or for not correcting inaccurate information? In that case, it’s a good idea to have lawyers on your side.

Experienced lawyers can represent you effectively in court. Even if the evidence seems to back your side of the case, there’s no guarantee that a judge will see things the same way. The right lawyers can be persuasive and present evidence in the right way, ensuring that you recover damages and are compensated for the difficulties you’ve gone through.

If you win a lawsuit, you could recover up to $1000 or even more in damages. This is intended to compensate you for missed job opportunities and for attorney fees you may incur.

Contact Fair Credit Today

The right background check attorneys can make a major difference in your dispute case, whether or not you choose to file a lawsuit. Contact Fair Credit today to learn more about how we can assist.

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