FALSE CRIMINAL HISTORY ON BACKGROUND CHECKS: A GROWING SCOURGE.

Background checks are a part of life now. Whenever you are applying for a job, for an apartment, for a promotion or for insurance, you can basically bet on the fact that someone will be pulling a background check report on you.

Recently, one of my single lady friends told me that she pulls background check reports on any of the guys that her girlfriends are dating. She says it’s a great way to make sure that the guys are not total psychos and are telling the truth.

There are, however, many problems with these background checks. They OFTEN carry false information about a person. There are many types of false information, some of it probably harmless, but one type which is anything but harmless is false information of criminal history.

The companies which compile background checks are usually in a hurry to gather and assemble the information, and do not take the time to really make sure that the information is accurate. If you have a similar name or other similar identifying information to a criminal, it can occur that his or her criminal history will end up on your background check. This can cost you a job, a promotion, a career, an apartment, insurance…a girlfriend or a boyfriend…you name it!

Here is the “Golden Rule” whenever you apply for an apartment, a job or insurance: you NEED to check the box on the application which permits you to obtain a copy of any background check which is run on you in connection with the application. If there is no box to check, provide the person running the background check with a letter, indicating that you are formally requesting a complete copy of any background check which is run on you.

If there is any false information on the background report, DO NOT OVERLOOK IT, even if it seems trivial. It could mean that, at least to some extent, your personal information is being mixed up with someone else’s.

If you find false information, write to the company that provided the background report, via certified mail, instructing them to correct the false information and also providing them with any documents or evidence showing that the information is false.

If the company does not correct the report promptly, please contact my law firm. You will often need and attorney to handle these situations. However, the good news is, under California law, you can get money damages when a company does not correct your background report after you notify them, and you can get your fees paid by the background report company. In other words, my firm can probably handle the case on a contingency basis.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this. Thanks for reading!

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