Do You have a Common Name and Get Mixed Up With Others On Background and Credit Reports?

Is your name John Smith?  Jennifer Johnson?  Peter Williams?  If so, you’ve likely gone through life and met many people with the same name.  Go onto Facebook and search for your name and you see hundreds of people with the same name.  So when an employer requests a background report from a background reporting company on someone with a common name, this situation is ripe for problems.  The same is true of your credit report; you may see credit data from others with the same name on your report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that credit reporting agencies, including background reporting companies, use reasonable procedures designed to assure maximum accuracy when running a background report.  Many courts have held that when running a credit or background report on an individual with a common name, the reporting agency must use enhanced procedures.  It cannot simply look at a court record for someone with the same first and last names as the applicant and report that record as the applicant’s record in its background report.  In order to report the record as the applicant’s record, the background reporting company must match additional identifying information with the applicant, such as birthdate, address history, middle name, social security number, or other information.

So what happens when a credit reporting agency such as Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, or a background reporting company such as Checkr, Sterling Infosystems, Accurate Background or First Advantage, mixes you up with someone with the same name?  If you’ve been damaged by this error, then you have rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to pursue these background reporting companies for damages.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act attorneys at Weiner & Sand LLC litigate these kinds of matters on a daily basis and would be happy to speak with you about the situation