How to Deal with Background Check Errors

Background checks often contain errors

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Background check errors are a common occurrence, but you have the right to dispute these errors and have them removed swiftly. Background check errors can ruin someone’s life if they aren’t handled quickly and with the appropriate diligence—don’t let this happen to you!

Common Background Check Errors

There are several types of background check errors, some of which are more common than others. The ones you’re most likely to see are:

False criminal records

Background check reporting agencies often mix up people’s names. Imagine, someone with a name close to or exactly matching yours who is a sex offender or a murderer, and that crime is on your background check!

Old, expired information

Small misdemeanors, allegations that didn’t turn into convictions, or bankruptcies and foreclosures should only appear on your background check for so long. Check with your consumer law firm for the current amounts of time they should be on your report and cross-check for timely removal.

Cases of mistaken identity

There could be someone out there using your entire identity for their own reckless behavior. If this is all on your credit report, you need to know about it!

There are other common errors, too, such as the wrong maiden or married name or wrong address on your background check. The cleaner and more accurate your background check is, the better.

How to Dispute Background Check Errors

The first step is to contact the background check agency that made the error. Inform them that you’ve found an error and that you expect it to be fixed. (The receipt of this dispute begins the 30-day timeline in which they have to fix the error.)

Most agencies have a section on their website that allows you to make this initial dispute. If you’ve found an error, gather the appropriate documentation to show what should accurately be listed. Then, you can upload proof of the correct information. Next, you should follow up with a phone call to cover your bases.

After you’ve taken those initial two steps, go even further by sending copies of your proof to the agency through certified mail. (Don’t ever send in originals! You won’t get them back.) Doing all three of these things helps make the process go much more quickly.

Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, was passed to ensure the safety and protection of all consumers. Under this act, you have numerous rights to ensure that your file shows an accurate picture of who you are and your history. Some of these rights are as follows:

  • If someone denies you employment, housing, or financial assistance due to a flag on your background check, they must tell you.
  • You can receive a copy of your background check at any time.
  • You can dispute any errors you find and expect to have them fixed within 30 days.
  • No one can run a background check on you without your written consent.

If consumer reporting agencies or other companies violate the FCRA, you have the right to sue.

How Long Does It Take to Dispute Background Check Errors?

When you file a dispute, the background check agency has 30 days to remove or fix the error from your report.

Once your background check is cleaned up, you also have the right to ask for a clean copy to be sent to the person or agency who asked for it in the first place when you realized there was a flag.

Can I Sue Over Background Check Errors?    

The FCRA requires that agencies fix your background check information within 30 days. If they fail to do so, you have the right to sue. You can even sue for damages for lost wages if these errors have cost you a job.

Bottom Line

You’ve been through enough after realizing that a background check agency made errors on your file. You deserve to have someone on your side who will guide you through the process of clearing your name.

Ready to get started?

If you’re a victim of credit reporting/background check errors, or debt collection harassment, it’s time to take a stand. Contact us today & reclaim your financial future.