This I Believe

Entered on April 27, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

A case of mistaken identity at a heavy cost…..

Incorrect information my background check cost me my job.

I couldn’t pay for daily needs; gas for my car, groceries, utilities and even rent.

I was denied an opportunity. I was offered a position with a Fortune 500 company. The job offer was contingent on the results of a background check. I had nothing to worry about; so I thought. My background check had been conducted and there was a match. A felony conviction. Stunned at the results. The agency which conducted my background check came up with a match of name, date, social security number. But also with this match another name was associated with the same conviction. The agency stated that this wasn’t unusual and sent the information to my potential employer.

I was contact by my potential employer and I was advised that they would no longer be moving forward with the employment process. I received this message one day prior to begin my new employment. I had already given my notice and trained my predecessor with my previous employer.

The result, I couldn’t collect unemployment due to the fact I had quite my job and didn’t actually work for the Fortune 500 company. I was unemployed for four months with no means of income. I researched the records and came to the conclusion that the mistake was the result of a “clerical error” by the police department. I was ticketed for speeding. It was found my records were crossed with the records of the women that was arrested that same day which caused her arrest record to show up under my name. During the time of my unemployment I couldn’t pay my rent, I couldn’t make my car payment (they went into repossession status), I had no choice but to go to food banks. After everything that happened I contacted the arresting agency to have my records corrected. They didn’t make any immediate changes. It wasn’t until I threatened a lawsuit that they attempted to correct their mistake.

I lost everything due to a “clerical error” by the police department and have no recourse. It is know you can’t not sue a government agency – who then is going to pay for this mistake that has cost me so much of my life and dignity? Who is going to bring my finances back to what they were. I worked a lifetime to keep my credit at a good standing and it has all taken away by click of a pen. My only wish would be that companies are more careful with background checks. There has to be a more accurate way — fingerprinting perhaps? I believe there has to be a better way to conducting background checks. Look at more avenues before companies ruin a persons life.