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Posted March 02, 2010 by

My Background Check: Specialty Consumer Reports

It’s widely known that employers are consistently conducting background checks on most job applicants, but did you know they also have the right to check various specialty consumer reports about you?
These reports are increasingly becoming a part of employee background checks. Just as with most aspects of background checks, the Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates what consumer reports an employer can access.
By now you’re probably wondering, “What can an employer find out about me in my background check?” Aside from the information included in regular background checks, consumer reports can include those about you made to employers, insurance companies, banks and landlords.
The companies that compile such reports have been dubbed as “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies.” Aside from credit history, these agencies can compile reports on your medical conditions, residential or tenant history and evictions, check writing history, employment background checks, and homeowner and auto insurance claims.
According to an article by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, these agencies operate much like credit bureaus, and can collect information regarding: public records of criminal or civil cases, your credit history, bankruptcy filings, companies with which you have an existing or prior business relationship, medical information, and driving records.
The agencies then use this information to compile reports based on the requirements of targeted uses, such as insurance companies, employers and landlords. While most people don’t know if specialty consumer reports exist about them or not, you do have the right to request one report about yourself each year.
Luckily, the FCRA imposes certain obligations on specialty reporting agencies, those who use the reports, and those who furnish the information that goes into compiling the reports.