A California man has sued a background check company that incorrectly listed him as a sex offender to a prospective employer and landlord, costing him both a job and a place to live during an applicant background check. The reason for the incorrect information? A man with a similar, but not identical, name had three counts of sexual misconduct on his record, and the company, National Tenant Network, conducted the applicant background check on the wrong person. Of course, this type of error is common among people with similar names, and we’ve posted about the pitfalls before. How can you ensure that — when you’re conducting an applicant background check — you’re getting the correct information, even among names that are extremely common? 1) Hire a reputable background check company. Instant online background checks may seem like a sweet deal, but computers are not able to differentiate information between two people with the same names. When you hire a background check service, you may not get your report in five minutes or less, but your chances of getting sued for misinformation decrease dramatically. Make sure the National Association of Professional Background Screeners has certified the company or service you choose. Mind Your Business is certified by NAPBS and the Better Business Bureau, as well as other certifying agencies. 2) Acquire the proper identifying information. Simply a first and last name may not be enough to conduct a thorough applicant background check; just imagine the nightmare it would be to track down the correct John Smith or Sarah Jones! To receive the best information possible, you should — at minimum — be able to provide a full name, including middle name, maiden name or any suffixes, for any potential candidates. Even better would be a social security number or other identification number, such as driver’s license number; these numbers are often requested on job applications. A date of birth or previous address may be helpful as well, if you are not able to use license or social security numbers. Contact the background screening company you have selected to see what information is most useful to them during an applicant background check. Want to make sure you’re screening the right person? Get started with Mind Your Business’ professional background screening services, and check out the right and wrong ways to go about screening employees.]]>
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