7 Shocking Quotes from the National Association of Professional Background Screeners Conference
I recently attended the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) annual conference in Austin, Texas – undercover. As an angry consumer who has had numerous background check companies screw up my background check, I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on. I was shocked in what I learned. Below are telling quotes that summed up my experience and confirmed my fears about the background screening industry.
“Employers understand they have to send out Adverse Action letters…..Sometimes”
— Crowd laughs —
This was the brutal truth that employers often don’t follow up with you if your background check is wrong or inaccurate. They simply move on to another equally qualified candidate in the stack of applications. Under the FCRA (the laws that govern background screening), job seekers are supposed to be given the chance to dispute an inaccurate background check. It is up to the employer or landlord to follow the law or not (and often times, they don’t even know it).
“I am amazed at lack of attention to disputes by CRAs (Background Screeners)”
— One of the Defense Attorneys who represent the background screening companies —
I have always known background check companies don’t really care if they issue an inaccurate background check but this was cold confirmation. When a background check is erroneous, a consumer is allowed to dispute it through the ‘dispute process’ as defined by the FCRA. Background check companies are responsible for jeopardizing people’s livelihoods and don’t think twice about it. Worst yet, even when they know they have messed up, they don’t really care to make it right. To boot, as we’ve learned from the last quote, it is usually too late anyway….
–NAPBS15 attendee and background screening company employee. —
This was an answer from a member of the audience when the conference presenter asked the attendees “What comes to mind when I say dispute process?” Remember, this is how consumers are supposed to be able to defend themselves in the case of errors on a background check. This woman even described the annoyance she experiences when consumers request her to check the record source for the mistake. On the flip side, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently fined GIS (one of the largest background screening companies) $13 million dollars, for reasons including “between 2010 and 2014, nearly 70 percent of criminal history disputes consumers filed with GIS resulted in some change or correction to the information in the consumer’s background report.” So the audience member was annoyed to have to fact-check her reports yet it appears that the majority of consumer disputes could end up in a correction of an error…What a lazy jerk. Regardless of my opinion, this was further confirmation that background check companies don’t really care if they make an error and don’t really care to fix it.
“Nobody Ever Purges Any Data, So You ALL Have It”
— Both conference presenter & crowd laughs–
This was in regards to the data in a consumer’s file. The topic was ‘How to ensure bad information does not reappear if a future report is run on the same consumer who already fixed their file?’ I have had the same background company botch my background check multiple times. Not funny at all. This quote explains how it happens. Even when you fix your background check via the dispute process, there is a good chance the same background check company can make the same error again in the future. The good news is that the courts don’t share the same humor as the audience of this presentation.
“We know nobody uses a social security number for a match”
This is one of the reasons why background check companies screw up background checks- lack of unique identifiers. Most background check companies screw up reports by only matching a first and last name. To be fair, most criminal records don’t have a social security number stamped on them and so the SSN is not always a good identifier to use. But, they could just throw in a middle name and DOB and many of the sloppiness errors that occur could disappear. Unfortunately, that takes a little extra effort that background check companies don’t care to exert.
PS- this quote was made in regards to making it difficult for the consumer to check/fix their file by setting up a road block and asking for unnecessary information – Unbelievable!
“Juries simply don’t like CRAs and Data furnishers”
This was actually a piece of good news from the conference. Juries don’t like CRAs (background check companies) because they (usually) did something bad to end up in court- go figure. Let justice prevail. As some more good news, one of the presenters mentioned that the CFPB has been doing a great job for consumers. Check out their website for further information – but do it quick because the NAPBS is desperately trying to get into bed with them.
“There is no time limit for a dispute”
If you have read this far, you have probably had an inaccurate or wrong background check. If so, you need to fix it for the future! The odds are that a background check in the future will also come back with the error, even if it is issued from a different background check company. You have to take matters in your own hands if you want to prevent this from happening again.
Anyone else had problems with inaccurate background checks?
Any background screeners reading this care to share their viewpoint?