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Correcting and Avoiding Errors on you Background Check!

by Blake Forrester 7/11/2011 3:11:00 PM

How Do I Correct Any Errors Found on Background Checks?

You’re in luck. The law is on your side when it comes to background checks for employment purposes. Prior to making a decision not to hire you, the employer must give you written notice of their intent to do so and the name of the company that conducted the background check on you. They must also give you a copy of the report and wait at least five (5) days to allow you to dispute the information in the report. If an error is found on the report and you dispute it, the employer and the background check company must reinvestigate the dispute and correct any errors and prove to you that they have done so.

How Can I Avoid Errors on Background Checks in the First Place?

Jobseekers can avoid errors on background checks by making sure their Information is current, accurate, and secure with a “personal” background check. In today’s “Age of Information,” people are what their personal information says they are. Jobseekers consenting to a background check should at least know what information will be uncovered beforehand or else suffer the consequences of lost jobs. Personal background checks protect consumers by protecting their personal information and finding any errors before they find the consumers. Since it is their information, it is up to consumers to make sure their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is correct with a personal background check.

If there are errors on your background check report, correcting those inaccuracies can be time-consuming and frustrating. can not only provide you with a complete report, but can also filter and help repair your background check.

You can find even more tips to assist you in finding your new job by downloading our free Ultimate Job Seeker’s Guide from The Ultimate Job Seeker’s Guide is packed with help from cover letters to growing you professional network. It’s a great tool for job seekers in any field.

Unsuspecting Jobseekers Easy Targets For Identity Theft

by Tom Ahearn 7/7/2009 2:53:00 PM

A recent article from BusinessWeek finds that criminals are hacking into corporate job sites, emailing as potential employers, posing as recruiters, and creating fake job boards to collect personal data from unsuspecting jobseekers in order to commit identity theft.

As if the over 14 million Americans currently looking for work didn't have enough to worry about already, now they have to be on the lookout for identity theft. As the unemployment rate soars, scammers are trying everything to trick jobseekers into giving up sensitive personal information. Jobseekers in particular are vulnerable to identity theft because many are eager to give information they believe will get them a job. As a result, the jobseeker market has slowly but surely been invaded by scammers.

Security experts say criminals appear to be using false job-listing sites more frequently for identity theft. In some cases, they sell data on legitimate jobseekers to people who lack credentials to land jobs. According to a February 2009 report by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, of the 313,000 cases of consumers registering complaints of identity theft in 2008, about 15% said the identity theft was employment-related.

While it is unclear how many identities are stolen through the job-application process, identity theft is growing. According to the 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report released in February by consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research, the number of identity theft victims reached almost 10 million in 2008, a jump of 22% over 2007. The report also claimed economic misfortune may have contributed to the increase in identity theft, since higher rates of identity theft have historically occurred when the economy worsens.

In another popular scam, criminals pose as recruiters ready to extend an offer who request Social Security numbers or other personal information to do background checks. But they really want to commit identity theft. They use the fact that a person needs a job and that he or she will do anything – including give away sensitive personal data – to get that job.

One way a jobseeker can avoid this popular scam is with a personal background check. While most background check companies focus on employers, offers consumers, including jobseekers, the chance to give themselves a background check and keep personal information secure, accurate, and up-to-date.

For more information about how personal background checks can help jobseekers avoid identity theft, please visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

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ID Theft, Jobseekers, Background Checks & the Case of Michael Anderson

by Tom Ahearn 5/20/2009 10:13:00 AM

As if finding work in these tough economic times wasn’t already hard enough, this story from WHAS-TV Channel 11 in Louisville, KY tells us about a Kentucky jobseeker who is discovering first-hand how identity theft can turn the dream of landing a job into a nightmare.

Like most of us who have ever looked in a telephone book or visited social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, Michael Anderson realizes that he shares his name with many others in this country.

Unfortunately, according to the WHAS11 report, another Michael Anderson living in the United States also shares THIS Michael Anderson’s date of birth AND his social security number. Even worse – especially considering that most employers now routinely run criminal background checks on jobseekers before hiring – the OTHER Michael Anderson has an extensive criminal record that includes indecent behavior with a juvenile and assault.

How does THIS Michael Anderson know? Because every time a potential employer runs a criminal background check on him, the OTHER Michael Anderson’s criminal history shows up. As a result, no one will hire him.

At first, WHAS11 reported, Anderson couldn't understand the background check results. He would tell himself: “It wasn't me.” But when he took a closer look at the background check documents, Anderson realized it was him – his name, his birthday, his social security number, and – in the eyes of potential employers – his criminal past.

Where in many cases identity thieves steal information outright from someone they are not connected with, what makes Anderson’s identity theft case unusual is that the identity thief shares the same name and date of birth as the victim, according to the WHAS11 report.

While Anderson’s case is unusual, identity theft is not. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, identity fraud increased 22 percent in 2008, affecting nearly ten million Americans. Overall, approximately 1.8 million more adults fell victim to identity fraud in 2008 as compared to 2007, the first year-over-year increase since Javelin began collecting data in 2004.

Identity theft victims can file a police report and put out a fraud alert, but it's tough to recover from a serious case. On average, it can take victims like Anderson up to seven years – depending on the severity of the identity theft – to get their lives back in order.

Jobseekers suffering from lost employment opportunities due to mistakes and misunderstandings uncovered during background checks are becoming more common. – a pioneer in personal background checks for individuals – helps jobseekers gain the protection they need against identity theft by allowing them total access to their own personal information. With an account from, jobseekers can make sure no errors or inaccuracies exist in their background checks and find out if they have been victimized by identity theft.

For more information on how jobseekers can protect themselves from identity theft through personal background checks, please visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

(UPDATE: Soon after posting this story, I was contacted by Linda Foley, Founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft. She would like Michael Anderson – and other victims of identity theft – to know that they can find help, support, and no-cost victim assistance at the ITRC website located at or by calling toll-free 1-888-400-5530.)

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Need a Job? You'll Need to Pass a Background Check

by Tom Ahearn 5/14/2009 12:42:00 PM

If you are one of the estimated 14 million "officially" unemployed people in the U. S., you probably have tried just about everything to find work. Resume polishing, job fairs, interview tips, and an impressive new suit or dress can help, but in the end all of those efforts – and expenditures – will not matter if you cannot pass a background check.

Times are indeed tough for jobseekers. According to recent Labor Department reports, unemployment rates have reached their highest figures in a quarter of a century with approximately 5.7 million jobs having been lost since the recession began in December 2007. Even worse, some experts say that the job market – especially with the recent layoffs in the auto industry – may get worse before it gets better.

With a growing number of jobseekers competing in a rapidly expanding pool of qualified competitors, employers can – and most surely will – be very selective when it comes to pre-employment screening. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that more than 85% of large companies and a rapidly growing number of smaller employers currently perform some form of background checks.

From entry level to the executive suite, the majority of jobs these days require a background check, so most of the 14 million people currently looking for work will likely undergo one. What exactly is in a background check? It depends on the job or the industry, but most basic background checks include:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) Address Trace
  • Criminal Record Search
  • Sex Offender Registry Search
  • Employment & Education Verification
  • Professional License Verification (if applicable)

Jobseekers should be ready for their background checks before actually undergoing the process. A job offer can be taken away because of a failed background check, even if the reason for that failure was false, erroneous, or inaccurate information uncovered during the background check. Many jobseekers have had this happen to them, many never knowing what was uncovered or even having the opportunity to explain.

There are several types of errors made during background checks, but the five most common mistakes are:

  • Mistaken Identity
  • Wrong Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Identity Theft & Fraud
  • Incomplete or Missing Information
  • Illegal Information

To ensure that their background check will be based on the most current and accurate data, jobseekers need to know first-hand what is included in their personal information and if it contains mistakes. To do this, they must first perform a “personal” background check on themselves to see if their data contains errors, inaccuracies, discrepancies, or incomplete/missing information.

While background checks performed by employers on prospective employees is standard procedure, jobseekers requesting background checks on themselves to better their chances of getting hired is a recent trend. These “personal checks” provide employers with validation of resume contents, ensures that public records are accurate, and helps individual jobseekers stand out from the growing pack of applicants.

While most background check companies focus exclusively on employers, was one of the first consumer background check services available online and has performed over one million background checks on individuals – including jobseekers – worldwide. For more information, visit, email, or call 1-800-503-2364.

Download FREE Article "Is Your Background Check Costing You A Job? The Five Most Common Mistakes & How To Correct Them" (.PDF File)

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Can’t Get a Job? The Five Most Common Mistakes in Background Checks May Be Stopping You

by Tom Ahearn 4/3/2009 3:50:00 PM

From entry level to executive suite, most jobs these days require a background check. Various surveys show that between 80 to 95 percent of U.S. businesses conduct some variety of background checks on prospective employees, and many employers are re-checking current workers in addition to applicants.

Statistics show that hiring managers find discrepancies on over 50 percent of applications and resumes. With the rise in unemployment resulting in a large pool of jobseekers, employers can – and most surely will – be as stringent as possible when it comes to the pre-employment screening process. If you are one of the millions of people currently looking for work, you most likely will undergo a background check.

What's in a Background Check?

It depends on the job, but the majority of background checks include a Social Security Number (SSN) Address Trace (to locate addresses you may have lived at) and some sort of Criminal Record Search (county, state, ‘US Crim,’ or federal). In addition, many employers seek other information such as a Sex Offender Search, an Employment and/or Education Verification, a Professional License Verification, a Motor Vehicle Driving Records (MVR) Examination, or a Credit Report.

To ensure that your personal information is correct, you need to know what possible mistakes, errors, and inaccuracies are most common during typical background checks. Once found, they can be removed or changed. Here are the “Five Most Common Mistakes in Background Checks” and the reasons they occur:

COMMON MISTAKE #1: Mistaken Identity

When you visit a social networking website like Facebook or MySpace, are you surprised to discover that so many people share your name? Do some make you say: “That’s not the right (your name)! I’m me!” So it shouldn’t come as a shock that a subject of a background check can get mixed up with a less than desirable namesake. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that a subject of a background check can get mixed up with a less than desirable namesake. What is surprising though is the fact that most criminal record cases in the United States do not contain your Social Security Number. As a result, courthouses use your name and date of birth as the main identifier. It is very easy and common for a criminal record to be returned that has your name, and in some cases your date of birth, as identifiers.

COMMON MISTAKE #2: Wrong Social Security Number

Your nine-digit Social Security Number (SSN) is more important than your name, since no one is allowed to share your SSN number (unlike your name). But a simple typo in one of those nine digits can lead to a lot of trouble during the SSN Trace, which is usually the first step in most background checks and reports any names and addresses used or associated with the SSN, and if the SSN belongs to a deceased person.

COMMON MISTAKE #3: Identity Theft & Fraud

Sometimes it is no accident when someone else ends up with your name and your SSN. Identity theft increased 22 percent in 2008 to victimize almost 10 million U.S. adults, according to a report released by Javelin Research. The unauthorized use of another person’s personal information to achieve financial gain is rapidly becoming a popular way to earn a living in today’s economy. A criminal with your identity can commit crimes, be arrested, and skip a trial, leaving you with a warrant for your arrest.

COMMON MISTAKE #4: Incomplete & Missing Information

Inaccurate and out-of-date information is bad enough, but sometimes your records contain incomplete or missing information that fails to tell “the whole story” – i.e. the truth – which means that you will have some explaining to do after a background check. “It wasn’t my fault…” and “What really happened…” are two phrases that you never want to have to say during a job interview. Most experts agree that up front communication about any criminal record is the best practice to pursue. Many background checks do not contain all of the information in the criminal file, only partial information gleaned from a quick glance or an electronic look‐up of the record. Items such as dismissals, expungement, diversion programs, or successful completion of parole or probation may be left out in error. It is important to make sure the prospective employer knows all of the facts, including how it all ended.

COMMON MISTAKE #5: Illegal Information 

Many states have protections on what information may be included in a background check or how it is procured. For example, California, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico (in most cases) limit the years your background check report may go back to a maximum of seven (7) years. Other states (Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Washington for example) allow the use of criminal records unless your proposed salary is above a certain amount (some are $20,000 a year and others $75,000 per year, depending on the state). Some states even restrict the types of records that may be reported (marijuana convictions, for example). On a federal level, the use of some criminal records in a hiring decision can be deemed discriminatory (Find U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on the use of criminal records at

The biggest legal issue is if you discover an employer conducted a background check on you without your written permission. All employers must receive your permission before procuring a background check through a third party agency. This federal law cannot be preempted by any state law and must be followed.

How Do I Correct Any Errors Found?

You’re in luck. The law is on your side when it comes to background checks for employment purposes. Prior to making a decision not to hire you, the employer must give you notice of their intent to do so and the name of the company that conducted the background check on you. They must also give you a copy of the report and wait at least five (5) days to allow you to dispute the information in the report. If an error is found on the report and you dispute it, the employer and the background check company must correct the errors and prove to you that they have done so.

Make Sure Your Personal Information is Accurate with a “Personal” Background Check

In today’s “Age of Information,” you are what your personal information says you are. Jobseekers consenting to a background check should at least know what information will be uncovered beforehand, and if that information is accurate, up-to-date, and secure. Or else suffer the consequences of lost jobs. Protect yourself by protecting your personal information. Find the errors before they find you. Since it is your information, it is up to you to make sure it is correct with a personal background check.

Background checks have been performed by employers on prospective employees for years. Jobseekers requesting background checks on themselves in order to better their chances of getting hired is a recent development. By giving yourself a personal background check, you are taking control of your own personal information – a good idea no matter what your employment situation is – and telling prospective employers that you have nothing to hide.If you are willing to pay for new clothes, a new haircut, a resume-polishing, a job fair, an employment seminar, or a book on how to find a job, why not purchase a background check so you can see what potential employers will see BEFORE they see it? is a pioneer in consumer‐requested background check services and one of the first to use a secure web‐based ordering portal for individuals who wish to purchase a background check. We are a leader in the growing “Personal Information Management” movement and offer consumers control over their personal information, knowledge of who is viewing their reports, and a safe and easy way to share their information with anyone else they choose. To take control of your personal information with an account from, please visit us today at, email, or call 1‐800‐503‐2364.

UPDATE: In a report first aired September 29 on CNN (video here), reporter Gerri Willis interviewed a woman who described how her husband's dream job turned into a nightmare because of false information on his background check.

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