Here’s another entry into the crazy but true background screening file… and a solid reminder of why you should occasionally conduct your own background check on yourself AND view your results.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Alexandria Goree from St. Louis discovered a “deceased” notation on her credit files in 2013. This routinely occurs when a creditor informs a Consumer Reporting Agency (like us here at Active Screening) that one of its customers has died. In Goree’s case, the information was being sent to the nation’s largest Credit Reporting Agencies – Experian, Trans-Union and Equifax – and was making it impossible for her to get any credit, loans or new housing.
Background checks are one of the essential tools property management companies and landlords have at their disposal to ensure they’re working with a well-intentioned tenant.
At nearly every turn, Goree says, she was turned away from credit card companies and local businesses who were relying on the information provided by the Credit Reporting Agencies – information that claimed they were dealing with a dead woman.
redit checks are still routinely used by employers and businesses to determine an applicant’s trustworthiness and reliability (although some states are re-examining their importance).
During the 8 months of her ordeal, Goree had to live on a cash-only existence. Imagine trying to do that in today’s fast-pass environment! She is now suing all three of the companies in U.S. District Court.
And, although Goree’s status as being alive has been fixed, her revived credit reports from Experian and TransUnion are “riddled with inaccuracies,” including incorrect names, addresses and unfamiliar credit lines, according to the lawsuit.
So what can you do if you unfortunately find yourself in the same position? Here’s some options:
- Get a copy of your credit reports and file any disputes with the reporting agencies. Consumers can get a free report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies through www.annualcreditreport.com.
- If this happens with your education background files, call your school’s registrar or office of student affairs to confirm your standing and history with them. Then ask them to contact any creditors to re-verify the information.
- Cases of misidentification when it comes to criminal background information can be cleared by contacting the courthouse where the supposed offense happened and requesting a security clearance. You may need to provide personal identifying information to verify your identity and pay a fee for this service. If the error occurred through an FBI fingerprint report, you’ll need to go to its website and fill out the appropriate forms.
The easiest and most effective step you can take to avoid ever finding yourself in Goree’s position is to be pro-active about protecting your identity and credit. This means commissioning a background check on yourself and verifying the results. Unfortunately, errors committed by Credit Reporting Agencies are not uncommon and can catapult you into a messy situation that can drag on for months. As a nationally-accredited CONSUMER Reporting Agency, Active Screening wants to help you in these situations. No one should have to deal with a blemish like this on their record, and it certainly shouldn’t take 8 months to correct. We are committed to providing best-in-class customer service and this is one of the ways we can show it to you.
We’d love to hear from you about this story. Have you ever requested a background check on yourself? What did you find out? Have you ever had experience trying to get mis-information corrected on your credit report? Shoot us a comment below or Tweet us here!