Dealing with Errors on Your Background Check

Dealing with Errors on Your Background Check

When an employer performs a background check on you and finds incorrect information, you have options and rights.

Talk with the Employer

Begin by explaining the report’s errors to the employer. Tell them you intend to file a dispute with the employment screening company under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). While the FCRA doesn't require them to hold the job for you, a sympathetic employer might be willing to give you a chance to correct the errors.

Dispute the Errors

Filing a dispute with the employment screening company that made the error begins with calling the company and telling them about it.

Follow up your call with a written dispute letter pointing out the errors in the report (certified mail, return receipt requested). With your letter, you can submit information that verifies your side of the story (background check shows a criminal record for someone with your first and last name, but different middle initial).

After the screening company receives your dispute, it has 30 days to investigate and 5 additional days to notify you of the results. 

If information in your background check can't be verified, it must be deleted. You can ask the screening company to send the revised report to anyone who has received a report about you within the last two years and have the right to receive another free copy of your report within 60 days.

The process for disputing errors in an employment background check is the same as the process for disputing errors in a credit report.

Find an Attorney

If you're having a problem getting your background screening report corrected, you may be able file a lawsuit against the screening company (contact an employment or consumer lawyer to discuss your situation). The National Employment Lawyers Association and National Association of Consumer Advocates have additional resources and attorney directories.