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September 29th, 2009
10:27 AM ET

Watching You 24/7: Bad background checks

The data broker business is a multi-billion dollar industry that makes its money digging up dirt on people. But what happens if a company hired to do a background check on you makes a mistake?

In our special series, Watching You 24/7, our Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis has the story of rap sheets on the wrong people.


Filed under: Watching You 24/7
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mark Brown

    I to am a victim of ChoicePoint's incompetence.I live in Michigan were the unemployment rate is above 15% and jobs are nowhere to be found. The only job offer to come along in 5 months is now lost because of a faulty report. Seems there is a man in Washington state with my same name and b-day who got busted for drugs. The employer(Meier stores) is now denies me employment because of this. I have sent my work history to both ChoicePoint and Meier and have not heard anything back yet and it has been almost a month. It's time for the lawyers to take over.

    October 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  2. daniel

    You should be able to access public records through state entities. They are allowed to charge you fees for copying and research expenses.social security people searchr

    October 1, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  3. George

    Re Bill Miller:
    Because not everyone uses the internet or a credit card. Reason for the private sector's use of these databases is to get a non-biased random sample of credit card users for its market research study. The goal of the Census is to have a complete look at entire U.S. population, not just a subset of the population. Therefore, the database is insufficient for a census of the U.S. population.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  4. pat

    definitely getting to much info on ordinary citizens.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  5. Cory Koslin

    Employers should always, always, always use database searches as indicators into a person's character, not definitive information. Based on those indicators, a reputable background screening company will be able to procure accurate results from courthouses that will provide certainty around whether or not a job applicant truly violated those laws or just has the same name or date of birth as someone who did.

    September 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  6. Jana A Floyd Palumbo

    Happens ALL the time. Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy ChoicePoint. Along with identity theft, this is one of the biggest problems on the Internet today. Check your records folks, fix them, as someone who has been hampered by bad info on both Credit and Background checks, and been an Identity Theft Victim, I say this with all sincerity.

    September 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  7. Bill Miller

    After seeing this story and reflecting on the story about the murdered census agent last week, I have to ask. With all the information available through credit reporting and data collection services, WHY are we still wasting billions of dollars on a census agency? It would seem that the information needed by our government is readily available trhough a multitude of resources.
    Why endanger lives and waste Billions??

    September 29, 2009 at 10:37 am |