Recently a client wanted to know why information on the internet was not in the report we provided on an applicant. The client researched the applicant on the web on their own. The client also sent the individual’s information to us for background investigation. The client found, on the internet, an indication that the individual had some prior arrests and wanted to know why that information was not included in our reports on the individual.
A question to ask before using information from the internet:
Does the company comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act in providing information on consumers?
As a consumer reporting agency, we take very seriously our responsibilities under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Our database sources comply with applicable FCRA rules and regulations concerning timeliness and accuracy of information in the database. In addition, we follow procedures to verify adverse information in a database before reporting that adverse information in a consumer report to our clients.
Before you use information from a web site on the internet, take some time to review any disclaimers. For example, let’s take a look at the disclaimer on the https://www.policearrests.com/ web site:
PoliceArrests is not a consumer reporting agency under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and does not supply consumer reports. Under no circumstances may you use PoliceArrests for any purpose covered by the FCRA, including but not limited to tenant or employee screening.
Is all that information on the internet true? It should be obvious that any and all information on the internet is not true. Any person or company can put anything on the internet. That does not make it true.
In this particular case, we re-verified the results in our report on the individual and did not find any evidence of arrests in the jurisdiction that supposedly housed the arrest records.
Many web sites of this nature will report information and then want you to buy the report from them. Any firm using information from such a web site with these disclaimers on information in their web site uses the information at their own peril.