Bill to Target Inaccurate Background Checks Proposed

Have you ever applied for a job, apartment, or a loan, only to have a background check come back with inaccurate information? Although such instances are more common with credit checks, they can occur with a background check – particularly if you’ve been a target of identity theft. Should your future, including employment and owning a home and vehicle, be at the whim of a criminal who stole your social security number?

According to a recent article, the answer is no. According to the linked article, Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott proposed a bill that would require the FBI to verify and correct any inaccurate data in a background check before the report is given to an employer.

According to the article, this has been a common problem, particularly with the current economy resulting in unemployment and rises in cases of identity theft. Criminal records, in particular, fail to indicate the final result of a case. In more extreme cases, however, various inaccurate criminal charges, jobs, and debts end up on someone’s background screening report. If Scott’s bill were to become law, applicants for jobs would receive a copy of their background check before the employer does to challenge any false information. The FBI, then, would be required to research and correct this inaccurate information. In such instances, however, the FBI could raise fees to an employer if time is taken to clean up a candidate’s data.

Such a procedure parallels action taken with inaccuracies on a credit report. According to the FCRA, if a person is rejected from a position due to poor credit, he or she is allowed to see a copy of their report and attempt to get the false information removed. While this won’t get the candidate the job, it will improve his or her future chances.