What to Do If Someone Else's Name Is on Your Background Check

Last Updated:
April 22, 2023

When you receive a background check from a prospective employer or background screening agency, you expect to see your name at the top of the form. But what happens if someone else's name is on your background check? This is always a big sign that something has gone terribly wrong!

Fortunately, there are ways to fix this issue, plus means to dispute the information on a background check that has such an egregious error. Read on to discover what to do if someone else's name is on your background check.

Why Can Someone Else's Name Appear on Your Background Check?

Most employers rely on third-party background screening agencies, such as Checkr, to receive detailed, accurate background information about job candidates. However, those agencies are staffed with human professionals, and they can and do make mistakes from time to time.

In some cases, your employer might hint that something has gone wrong with your background check. When you receive a copy of your background screening report, you discover that there's a different name at the top of the paper or digital file.

What went wrong? This particular type of background check mistake can occur for a wide range of reasons, such as:

  • Your name is a very common one in your area or culture, so the screening agency confused you with someone else

For instance, maybe your name is Sam D. Smith, and the screening agency confuses you with another Sam D. Smith without checking additional information like your Social Security number

  • The background check agency misplaced your file or mixed two files up

This can occur if the screening agency uses old or bad software or there's a digital glitch

  • Pure human error

Sometimes, someone just makes a mistake. Your background check information might be entirely accurate when you double-check it, but you might still see the wrong name at the top of your background check report papers.

In any case, you should never leave things be if you notice the wrong name on your background check. In fact, it's better to get this issue taken care of at the earliest opportunity.

What Happens if Your Name Isn't on Your Background Check?

If your name isn't on your background check, that can spell disaster. It can lead to many negative consequences for your job hunt.

For example, your employer might think that you haven't provided your real name in your interview or application paperwork. This is enough to disqualify you from practically every job position in every industry.

Alternatively, the wrong name on a background check could indicate that the screening agency has confused your identity with that of another person. Then, you might notice that there are plenty of other background check errors, like:

  • Lists of debts or loans that you did take out
  • Erroneous or inaccurate criminal history records (e.g., there's a record of a criminal conviction for a crime that you never committed)
  • And more

All of that information can cause an employer to deny you an employment opportunity. Even though this is based on erroneous information, your employer doesn't necessarily know that.

Bottom line: the wrong name on your background check is always bad, so you need to know how to fix this issue quickly.

How to Fix a Background Check Error Like a Mistaken Name

Fortunately, there are ways to fix background check errors, such as mistaken names. In fact, the best way to fix this mistake is to follow the same dispute process you would use for any other erroneous background check information.

Check Your Background Report for Other Mistakes

Your first step should be to check your background report thoroughly for any other mistakes. After all, if the screening agency responsible for your background check mistook your name for another person's, there's no telling what else might be wrong with your background report overall.

Be sure to check things like:

  • Employment history

This is including where you worked, how long you worked at those places, and whether there are any records of inaccurate firings or dismissals

  • Your criminal history, if applicable

The last thing you want is to see an erroneous criminal conviction on your background report when you never committed a crime in the first place!

  • Your other personal information, like your date of birth, your Social Security number, and your address

All of these are basic things that need to be accurate when you are employed by a company. If they aren't accurate on your background check, there's a good chance your prospective employer also doesn't have accurate information

  • Your credit and financial history

Make sure your credit score is at least roughly accurate (as your score can vary by a few points from bureau to bureau) and that there aren't any inaccurate or out-of-date debts, loans, or missed payment records

Why bother looking for other mistakes? Once you know all the mistakes that a screening agency - like ClearChecks - has made, you can file one dispute to break down all the inaccurate information. This is faster than filing a separate dispute for each error you may uncover.

File a Dispute with the Background Check Agency

As touched on above, your next step should be to file a dispute with the background check agency responsible for your report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, background check agencies have to provide you with easy means to file a dispute that points out inaccurate information and requesting its correction.

Furthermore, once an agency receives a dispute request from you, it has 30 days to investigate the erroneous information and fix it if it is verified to be incorrect. If the agency fails to do this, it is in violation of your FCRA consumer rights and could be liable for a lawsuit.

However, most background screening agencies do fix erroneous information once it is brought to their attention. Furthermore, most will proactively inform your prospective employer of the mistake. With a little luck, this could restore your chances to secure a great job you were disqualified from.

Contact Background Check Attorneys for Further Help

But what if a background screening agency doesn't fix the issue, like the wrong name being on your background check? In that case, you may need to contact background check error attorneys such as Fair Credit.

The right, specialized law firm can provide invaluable assistance to your case. For instance, if you wish to sue a background screening agency for not fixing inaccurate information or not responding to your dispute request, you'll have a much better chance of winning a lawsuit with attorneys working on your side.

Attorneys can:

  • Gather evidence to strengthen your dispute letter or your upcoming lawsuit
  • Negotiate with the credit bureaus, your employer, and background screening agencies on your behalf
  • Represent you effectively and persuasively in court, which could be invaluable if you need to sway a judge to your side in a legal case
  • Provide you with sound legal counsel and explain all of your options so you know which route to take

If your lawsuit is successful, you could recover up to $1000 in damages or much more, some of which may be used to pay for attorney fees and other related expenses.

Contact Fair Credit Today

Ultimately, if someone else's name is on your background check, you need to file a dispute ASAP. The sooner you file a dispute, the faster you can correct the erroneous information and make sure your prospective employer knows the truth about your background details. For more help, and for advice regarding potential lawsuits, be sure to contact Fair Credit today.

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