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Every day, many consumers’ rights are being violated by individuals and big corporations. Banks, lenders, employers, debt collectors, credit repair agencies, so on and so forth. Many consumers have to face these institutions and individuals by themselves, not realizing there are laws enacted to protect them and their livelihood.

It is important that you educate yourself on your rights when dealing with these people and corporations. Knowing the law can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, while also retaining your peace of mind and dignity.

It is crucial that you get a trusted consumer rights attorney on your side, if you feel that your rights have been violated. And it is of no cost to you as we offer free case reviews. We get paid, when you do. So contact us now, or fill out our online form to represent you in consumer matters.

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What is an Adverse Action Notice?

What is an Adverse Action Notice?

As a professional background screening company, we receive numerous questions from clients and readers of this blog. As an example, someone asked recently if adverse action notices are necessary if the employer sends a note, in writing, stating that the job seeker’s qualifications were “not within guidelines.” Our question is this: What guidelines? Are the guidelines discriminatory? Was the candidate aware of these guidelines before applying?

We thought we’d start with a basic answer to the most basic of questions:

Adverse Action Defined

In this instance, adverse action is defined as a “negative” action that denies an applicant employment or a promotion. Pre-adverse action includes the activities prior to taking adverse action. 

As Defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act

fcra

In the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Section 604, the regulation specifies that adverse action cannot be taken against an applicant until they have been provided a copy of their background screening report (also called a consumer report).

The applicant should be notified via pre-adverse action with a letter detailing potential adverse action and the information that lead to that decision. Employers must provide the applicant with a document called, “A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA.” This document informs the applicant of their consumer rights and allows them the opportunity to dispute the findings of their background check report.

In Section 615 of the FCRA, details of a second notice, called an Adverse Action Notice, state that after the applicant has been given time to dispute the findings, they must be notified in writing that an adverse action has been taken.

Both the Pre-Adverse and the Adverse Action notices should include the contact information of the background screening company (also called a consumer reporting agency) that furnished the report. This information will be used by the applicant to dispute the report results.

When to Send Pre-Adverse and Adverse Action Notices

Pre-adverse action notices should be sent within three business days of receiving the background check report results. The applicant will have the appropriate information, including a copy of their report, to know that:

  • Their background check results have lead to potential adverse action
  • The background check provider didn’t make the adverse action decision
  • The background check provider may have inaccurate information and it can be disputed
  • The applicant must contact the background check provider to dispute the results

The FCRA does not specify a time period for the applicant to dispute the results. If the applicant does not dispute the screening results, a best practice is to send an adverse action notice within five business days of the pre-adverse action notice. 

What Guidelines Can Employers Use to Deny Employment?

Getting back to the original question of denying employment because the candidate’s qualifications were not within guidelines, we still want to know, “what guidelines?” 

Employers are not allowed to use a blanket deny-all policy for withdrawing employment offers. The EEOC suggests, even with criminal records, that employers individually assess each candidate to determine their eligibility for employment.  We highly recommend a Background Screening Decision Matrix to fully document any guidelines used to deny certain jobs or responsibilities. Again, as stated earlier, applicants must be made aware of any guidelines for employment as to avoid hiring bias and discrimination.

For more information on Adverse Action Notices, call our firm 718-674-1245 or message here.

Know What Are The Types of Background or Reference Checks

Know What Are The Types of Background or Reference Checks

There are many types of pre-employment background checks being conducted today, with employers using a mix of those that best suit their needs. Some of the more common types are discussed below.

Employment history

Some people include false employment history on their resumes. Employers frequently discover lies embellishing job responsibilities. Other frequent falsehoods involve skill set, dates of employment, previous employers, and job titles and roles. HR professionals should contact previous employers to verify:

  • Dates of employment.
  • Job title(s).
  • Duties performed.
  • Circumstances of separation.

Education history

Listing academic degrees never obtained or educational institutions never attended are also common resume falsehoods. One high-profile case involved the admissions dean for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who resigned after it came to light that she had claimed to possess three degrees she had not actually earned. Similarly, a former CEO of RadioShack resigned after executives discovered he had falsely claimed to have two degrees from a college in California.

Criminal history

Increased use of criminal background checks by employers to prescreen job applicants stems from the growth of claims alleging that an employer was negligent in hiring or retaining an employee who subsequently engaged in workplace violence or some other act that resulted in harm to a person (e.g., sexual assault) or property (e.g., theft). Many organizations also perform criminal background checks on current employees, either as a matter of course or prior to a promotion, transfer, or other change in the terms and conditions of employment.

Companies that use criminal background checks should examine and understand the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) related guidance.

Generally, it is not practical for employers to perform criminal background checks in-house. The result has been the emergence of third-party service providers whose business is to conduct background screening for employers. These providers, as a rule, are better equipped to conduct thorough and accurate background screening, assuming they adhere to certain guidelines and practices.

Motor vehicle records

Employers should always check the driving record of any individual who will operate an organization vehicle at any time or who will drive personal or rental vehicles on company business. A motor vehicle record typically lists license status, license class, expiration date, traffic violations, arrests and convictions for driving under the influence, and license suspensions or cancellations.

Specific industry mandates

background check

For some jobs, federal or state law may require a background investigation. These include jobs in health care, child care, education and public transportation, among others. Employers will want to check with legal counsel for compliance requirements in the states in which they have employees.

If you think your rights as an employee have been violated, call us TODAY 718-674-1245 or message here for more information.

Q & A’s on Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers

Q & A’s on Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers

A “prescreened” offer of credit? What’s that?

Many companies that solicit new credit card accounts and insurance policies use pre screening to identify potential customers for the products they offer. Prescreened offers — sometimes called “preapproved” offers — are based on information in your credit report that indicates you meet criteria set by the offeror. Usually, prescreened solicitations come via mail, but you also may get them in a phone call or in an email.

How does pre-screening work?

Pre Screening works in one of two ways:

  • a creditor or insurer establishes criteria, like a minimum credit score, and asks a consumer reporting company for a list of people in the company’s database who meet the criteria; or 
  • a creditor or insurer provides a list of potential customers to a consumer reporting company and asks the company to identify people on the list who meet certain criteria. 

Can pre-screening hurt my credit report or credit score?

No. There will be “inquiries” on your credit report showing which companies obtained your information for pre screening, but those inquiries will not have a negative effect on your credit report or credit score.

Can I reduce the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers I get?

If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently. 

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.

To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request. 

When you call or visit the website, you’ll be asked to provide certain personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.

Why would someone opt out — or not?

Some people prefer not to receive these kinds of offers in the mail, especially if they are not in the market for a new credit card or insurance policy. They may prefer to opt out to limit access to their credit report information for credit and insurance solicitations, or to reduce some mailbox “clutter.” However, some companies send offers that are not based on prescreening, and your federal opt-out right will not stop those kinds of solicitations.

As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Prescreened offers can help you learn about what’s available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers. 

Does opting out hurt my credit score?

Removing your name from prescreened lists has no effect on your ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance. 

prescreened credit

If I decide to opt out, how long will it be before I stop getting prescreened offers?

Requests to opt out are processed within five days, but it may take up to 60 days before you stop receiving prescreened offers.

Have you ever found errors on your credit report?

Perhaps you found your credit information mixed with someone else’s or old debts you paid off a long time ago are back on your report. Maybe you applied for a loan or a job only to be denied because of an error on your credit report. Did you reach out to the credit bureaus? Were you able to get your errors resolved? If you’ve found errors on your credit report and/or tried to get errors on your report corrected, we want to hear about it. We can Help You! Call today 718-674-1245 or message here.

 

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Consumer’s rights are violated every day by big corporations and employers, and it is imperative that you get a trusted Consumer Rights Attorney on your side to help you fight for damages you are entitled to. We provide free case reviews, and we do not take a single dime from you! When you win, we win! Get in touch with us today!

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