Consumer Reporting Agencies are not allowed to issue criminal conviction reports matched on name only.
Often times we get asked about the turnaround status of a criminal conviction report. The question relates to what is taking so long for the criminal conviction report to complete? This Advisory Opinion cfpb_name-only-matching_advisory-opinion_2021-11 from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection explains why we must perform our due diligence to assure we are reporting results as accurately as humanly possible.
The Advisory Opinion states “The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is issuing this advisory opinion to highlight that a consumer reporting agency that uses inadequate matching procedures to match information to consumers, including name-only matching (i.e., matching information to the particular consumer who is the subject of a consumer report based solely on whether the consumer’s first and last names are identical or similar to the names associated with the information), in preparing consumer reports is not using reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy under section 607(b) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).”
Thus, we are proscribed from just using name only. There are three identifiers when performing public record searches i.e. name, address and date of birth. We attempt to match all three before reporting a criminal conviction in a consumer report. This often takes time. It takes time to pull the actual file to assure, as much as possible, that the individual you, as a potential employer, are looking to hire is not the same person with a criminal conviction record. Add to this process the fact that many counties are not as cooperative as desired in pulling files to examine.
There are millions of people with common names. Information in the opinion contains some examples on page 6 of the Advisory Opinion. We have experienced situations where an applicant without a criminal conviction has the same name, date of birth and jurisdiction address as someone with a criminal conviction record. This situation can be addressed properly by issuing the pre-adverse letter when information in our consumer report is used to make an adverse hiring decision. The pre-adverse action letter gives the consumer the opportunity to advise that the information in the consumer report is inaccurate.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: email@example.com or the website at randisiandassociates.com