Solution 39
Background Checks and Vanity Searches

The focus of this document is to give suggestions in the case of fraudulent information being reported on a background check or online information search. If you receive/are told there is information that is not yours DON’T PANIC. Information on a background check or an online search does not mean you are a victim of identity theft. Some background check companies and programs will confuse people with similar names, birth dates, etc. or will lump them together into one file.

Your Rights - The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) is the primary federal law regulating employment background checks. Despite its name, the FCRA applies to all employment backgrounds checks conducted by a third party whether they include a credit report or not. See A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In addition to the FCRA, there are many other Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations that may impact a particular employment background check. See Background Check Laws & Regulations.

Steps to Take: Make sure you have a print out of the background check or the search results for your records.

  • Fraudulent Credit / Addresses: Check your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies. These will tell you if there are fraudulent lines of credit, mortgages, collections, or judgements under your information. They will also tell you if there are addresses that are not yours connected to your Social Security number.  You can do this by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by contacting each credit reporting agency directly and placing a fraud alert. ITRC Fact Sheet 100 will walk you through what to do if there is fraudulent activity.
    • Equifax (800) 525-6285
    • Experian (888) 397-3742
    • TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
  • Fraudulent Checks / Bank Accounts: Check your consumer reports if fraudulent bank accounts or checks appear on your record. You can do this by contacting the three check verification companies. ITRC Fact Sheet 126 provides the steps on what to do if there is fraudulent activity.
    • ChexSystems (800) 428-9623
    • Certegy (800) 437-5120 or (866) 543-6315
    • TeleCheck (800) 366-2425
  • Criminal Charges: If there are criminal charges on your background check or vanity search read ITRC Fact Sheet 110. Do the following:
    • If there is no indication of a warrant: contact your local police department. Show them the report that you were given. Ask them to verify if the reported criminal record is under your information.
      • If it is not, get a print out from the police stating this. Contact the background check company or website reporting this information. Inform them that they have reported it in error. Send them the letter from the police along with any other information they may need to correct the record. Get a copy of the amended record. You may need to do this again in the future.
      • If the fraudulent criminal charges are being reported under your information, file a police report for identity theft. Follow the steps in ITRC Solution 6 to clear your name.
    • If there is an indication of a warrant under your information, determine if the warrant is in your state or another. Contact your local police department by phone. Ask to speak with somebody in the fraud investigations department or the identity theft department. Inform them of what you found on your background check and that you want to come in to fix the issue. Ask them to meet you at the door to your local precinct. Do not go alone. The danger with these sorts of situations is there is always a chance of the victim being arrested. Have somebody go with you that can get legal help if need be. Follow the steps listed above for talking to the officer. Read ITRC Solution 6 for suggestions on how to clear your name.
    • If there is a fraudulent driving record (traffic tickets, DUI, etc.) contact your state’s agency that handles driver’s licenses. Request a copy of your driving record. This will tell you all traffic violations under your information. Follow the steps in ITRC Solution 6 to clear your name.
  • Fraudulent Employment: Go to the Social Security Administration’s Website to order your Social Security Statement. This statement will tell you if Social Security thinks you have made more money than you actually have in a year. Read ITRC Solution 27 for more information.

You may decide that you wish to pull your own background records. If you do, consult your local police department or the Better Business Bureau for recommendations on a reputable company.

Additional Information:

Individual State Resources ITRC Solution 6 - Criminal Identity Theft ITRC Solution 27 – Fraudulent Work History ITRC Fact Sheet 100 – Financial Identity Theft ITRC Fact Sheet 110 – Criminal Identity Theft (a guide to the crime) ITRC Fact Sheet 126 – Checking Accounts and Check Fraud

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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