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The Crime of Having a Common Name

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2012 | Consumer Protection

Many of us share the same name with someone else in this
country.  Many times that person is in your same city or
county.  It would not be so bad if all you shared was the same
name.  But what if, because of that same name, you were forced
to share other things with that person – like their criminal
background or their credit report? 

While potential creditors have always turned to credit reporting
agencies for credit background checks of individuals, more and more
potential employers are turning to criminal background
checks.  Just as we have seen with credit reports mixing
individuals because of similar identifying information, we are also
seeing background check reports doing the same thing.  The
results can be drastic.   Take for instance a recent
report from NBC in Chicago about a man named Samuel Jackson. 
Comparisons with the same-named famous actor likely sounded
wonderful to this victim.  However, it was found that there
are three other Samuel Jacksons who got mixed up into his criminal
background report. They’re Samuel Jacksons all convicted of sex
offenses; two of whom are currently in prison.  Thus, when the
innocent (and not famous) Mr. Jackson went to apply for
employment,  his background check would do him
in.  See article

The Fair
Credit Reporting Act
governs this scenario.  As we pointed
out in our recent blog, Background Checks for Employment And The
Fair Credit Reporting Act, the companies that provide these
background checks are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting
Act.  The background checks are, in fact, consumer reports
under the FCRA. 

If you find out about inaccuracies on a background check or a
credit report, the credit reporting agencies have an obligation
under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to conduct an investigation and
report with maximum possible accuracy.  If they fail to adhere
to these obligations, you have rights.  SmithMarco, P.C.,
has over 30 years of combined experience practicing law protecting
the rights of consumers around the country. If you feel that you’re
rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case