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Error Found in Your Background Check? Here's What to Do Next

Have you ever been rejected from a job or a rental application after going through a background check? If so, has it ever occurred to you that there could be errors in the information that the background check report presented about you? Errors in your background check might not seem like a big deal, but they could cost you a lot in terms of your career, education, or personal life. In this article, we'll explore what options you have when you find errors in your background check and how you can rectify them.

What is a Background Check?

A background check is a process that involves verifying a person's background information, criminal record, employment history, credit history, and other relevant details. It is often conducted by employers, landlords, lenders, or anyone who needs to make critical decisions about a person's life. Background checks are usually conducted by third-party companies that specialize in collecting personal information from various sources such as public databases, credit bureaus, court records, and other records.

Why do Background Checks contain Errors?

While background checks are intended to provide accurate information, they may contain errors due to various factors. Some background check companies might wrongly attribute records or information to the wrong person, while others might only use a limited amount of information to come up with their results. Inaccurate information can result in incorrect criminal records, education certificates, and employment histories, which could lead to missed job opportunities.

What Can You Do If You Find Errors in Your Background Check?

1. Obtain a Copy of your Background Check

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The first step in rectifying any errors in your background check is to request a copy of the report. A background check company is obligated to provide you with a copy of the report if you have been denied an opportunity due to information contained in the report. Review the report thoroughly to identify any errors, including misspelled names, incorrect birthdates, or wrong addresses. Once you've identified any errors, reach out to the background check company with your concerns.

2. File a Dispute with the Background Check Company

The next step is to file a dispute with the background check company regarding any errors that you have identified. Background check companies have to abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that outlines the reporting requirements for consumer credit reporting agencies. Under the FCRA, consumers are entitled to have inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information removed from their credit reports. Ensure that you file the dispute within 30 days of receiving the report to avoid it from going on the record.

3. Contact the Source of the Information

Background check companies pull information from various sources, and these sources can also contain erroneous information. If you notice that the mistake in your report stems from a particular source, reach out to that source to correct the error. For example, if your criminal record report has incorrect information, contact the court in charge of the record and ask them to rectify the information.

4. Appeal to the Employer or Landlord

If you have been rejected from a job or rental application due to information in your background check, you can request the employer or landlord to reconsider their decision. The FCRA requires employers and landlords to provide applicants with a copy of their report so that they can review it and rectify any errors before making a decision. If you have corrected any errors, provide the employer or landlord with the updated report.

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5. Seek Legal Assistance

If you have exhausted all options, and the errors in your report are negatively affecting your life, consider seeking legal assistance. A lawyer specializing in the FCRA can help you file a lawsuit against the background check company and get compensation for any damages that the errors have caused.


Errors in background checks can significantly affect your life, and it's important to take immediate action to rectify them. The earlier you identify the errors, the easier it will be to fix them. Always ensure that you review your report carefully and follow the correct procedures when filing a dispute or seeking legal assistance. Remember that, under the FCRA, you have the right to rectify any errors in your report and prevent them from ruining your life.

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