Importance of Thorough Background Checks to Prevent Identity Mix-ups

Recently, in what is being called a case of indirect identity theft, a Maryland man’s job prospects were compromised following a routine background check at a potential job. Christopher Jenkin’s background check quickly uncovered a list of felony offenses, including grand theft auto, on his record. The problem: the record was for a man of the same name and birthdate, but who lived in Florida. The Christopher had never been to Florida let alone committed any of the crimes listed.

The Importance of Searching Local Registries over FBI Databases

The FBI reports that between the years 2014 and 2016 there were more than 1 million requests for FBI identity history summaries and of the results, about 2,300 contained errors. With more than 300 million people in the United States today, the odds are simply too great that identity mix-ups will occur and identity theft experts agree that better systems must put in place that will allow consumers to challenge and correct these mistakes more easily.

Consumer Rights

For his own protection, Christopher Jenkins of Maryland must carry a folder containing a litter from the Florida police department confirming that he is not the felon of the same name, a notarized affidavit explaining the case of mistaken identity, and a copy of his own fingerprints. He must present these things at traffic stops and job interviews and reports that the issue has led to undo stress and depression. Hopefully, with clarification, his employment prospects won’t be negatively impacted in the future, but the mix-up highlights the importance of thorough employee screening.

Additionally, for consumers it is crucial to remember that the FTC protects consumer rights to question and correct inaccurate information. In the event that a background is failed, you can request to see the report and contest the information.