They’re Wrong About You: How to Correct Faulty Information
June 20th, 2014 by Dodie
When having a background check performed for pre-employment or when having a tenant screening to apply for a rental property, it would be shocking if the report came back with erroneous information such as court records. It would be understandably stressful if this happened to you. Your best defense? AWARENESS.
There are steps you can take if a background check company comes back with false information on an employee background check, tenant screening, or even your credit report.
First, it is imperative that you receive a copy of the report that was pulled. Any time you authorize a check into your background, whether it is a credit check or background screening, the law stipulates that you have the right to receive a copy of the report, or access to it. Be sure you double-check the report for inaccuracies.
Even if a property owner or employer considers that you “passed” their check, it is always best to view the report for yourself and ensure that it is correct. In fact, if you are planning on obtaining a new job or place to live, it may be prudent to run a check on yourself—this way, you have a clear idea of what will come back and how you can address any issues that may be on the report.
If you do see an error on your report, there are several options, but your action depends on what type of report it was. Many places will run a combination of reports. Typically, there are three types of reports:
If it was strictly a background check for criminal activity, the best place to start when trying to correct any misinformation listed is the court records for the county in which there is a report of activity. If the report has incorrect information regarding a true criminal charge, (i.e. incorrect disposition of a case or what crime you were charged with) or if you would like to see if previous information can be expunged from your court records, it is a good idea to contact either legal aid in that area, or contact the court directly. This will allow you to find out how to have the information corrected. In fact, if there are erroneous charges listed on your criminal background check, it is a good idea to contact the county courthouse immediately to have this fixed.
For a credit check, it is best to contact both the credit bureau and the company that has the debt listed. Often, if the debt is not settled on your report, but is in fact settled, you may have to provide the company proof of the debt being cleared. Sometimes, companies forget to send a “paid in full” note to the credit bureau. If you find false information on your credit check, immediately dispute the charges with the credit bureau. It is the responsibility of the company to prove that you do owe them the debt.
Lastly, if your employment information is listed incorrectly, you would need to contact the Human Resources department of the company that is providing the information. This is a great reason to keep copies of paycheck stubs. Most Human Resources departments are run by a small group of employees, and mistakes can happen. Keeping proof of your employment may keep you from having a headache later on.
In summation, background checks are not always accurate. By keeping accurate records, and being aware of what is on each of your reports, you can be proactive should misinformation appears when a background check is performed.
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