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Connecticut Better Business Bureau: Check Your Credit Reports Before Applying for a Job

Employers have the right to ask for a credit check and may do so for a variety of reasons, especially if it is a company that handles consumers’ personal financial information.

Employers May ask for More than a Resume and an Interview

Connecticut Better Business Bureau suggests you check your free credit report before you apply for a job, because a job offer may be dependent upon the results of a background check, including your credit history.

Employers have the right to ask for a credit check and may do so for a variety of reasons, especially if it is a company that handles consumers’ personal financial information.

“You should be aware of any inaccuracies in your credit report and correct them before they are seen by a potential employer,” according Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti.

Consumers may obtain a free, no-strings-attached credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies through the government-sanctioned website http://www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 877-322-8228.

Credit reports contain information about your credit history including if you pay your bills on time, if someone has sued you and how much money you owe.

An employment background check also may include a check of your criminal record and driving history.  However, they cannot do a background check without your permission.  No permission is necessary if they want to check your social media profile and personal history through an internet search engine. 

Employers are prohibited from telling candidates they may not apply if they have a criminal record, and if you are rejected as a candidate because of information revealed in your background report, the company must inform you by what is called an Adverse Action Notice and provide you with contact information of the company that wrote the report.

If you feel you have been treated unfairly based on the contents of a background check and that the employer broke the rules, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 http://www.ftc.gov.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Margaret Callahan September 12, 2012 at 04:16 PM
employers snag your criminal history with police blotters going online w/ sites like Patch
Jim G. September 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Employers CAN snag your entire public life and more from Facebook, Twitter, web sites, etc. It's not always legal, depending on who does the searching and how the results are used, but I've known people who took off time "for a family funeral" and were then fired when their FB postings showed them off on a party vacation. Anyone who doesn't realize how complete a portrait of themselves can be found online, or thinks that bosses, co-workers, lenders and neighbors can't look up the same thing their "friends and family" do is likely to get an unpleasant surprise some day. Which is why I consistently advise people to use anything but their full, real name online. Five years from now, a simple search will turn up every post you made... sure you want that?
R Eleveld September 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
@Margaret you are so right.
Leslie Hutchison September 12, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I like the free service. Best not to be surprised if you do agree to a credit check! Helps when looking for a house or car as well!

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