What everyone should know about employer background checks

CBS MoneyWatch contacted me for their story about employment background checks and the widespread violations of consumers’ rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  

That federal statute entitles consumers to accuracy — not just with credit reports — but also for employment and housing background checks.

Background check companies sometimes rely on partial information, like a birth year versus a full birth date, resulting in frequent mixups, experts said. “It’s a much harder problem with criminal background reports, because oftentimes there is no date of birth or Social Security number provided,” said Adam G. Singer, a consumer protection lawyer. 

“When dealing with public records, often you may just have a first and last name, and possibly an address, and the credit bureaus and background check companies won’t always insist on an exact match,” Singer said.