Posts Tagged ‘credit reports’

Background Checks Cause Problems For Employment

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

It does happen:

You go in for a job interview. You feel like you nailed it. Then you get the call (if you’re lucky) letting you know that your background check showed something shocking. They don’t know what to believe, they go with someone else. Then you get to start on that horrendous journey of clearing your name.

And this is all best case scenario. More often than not you do not get the call. Human resource professionals are going to believe what they see on this “official” background check. They are more than likely never going to contact you again after seeing that document. You go on knowing nothing about what is being reported on you Criminal Background Check, having no opportunity to explain yourself or begin fixing it. As I have said before in previous posts, it took me 6 years to find out, a few more to correct the problem by getting an expuncture, and a few years later I just turned up “dirty” on another background check.

Identity Theft of this nature is no joke, and it just blind-sides you. You can’t find out through your bank account or credit score. You are more than likely not going to run a Criminal Background Check on yourself. People that do know are probably not going to tell you, but they will probably tell others. In my case there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it, but in most cases it can be prevented. For great prevention tips click here

Because of my own experience, I am happy to endorse LifeLock. In turn, LifeLock has allowed me to offer a 10% discount to anyone that I refer to them. All you have to do is click on the Lifelock banner at the bottom of this page. I assure you, even though it might be a little too late for me, I now have my whole family enrolled in Lifelock. I recommend it to all of my friends. They have packages starting at as little as $10.00 a month. Do your own research, but please protect yourself, you can’t afford not to.

“LifeLock”
“Relentlessly Protecting Your Identity”

Do you think that Identity Theft really stinks?

Like us on facebook…

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ID-Theft-Stinks/128300927227769

Thank you NBC San Diego for doing such a great job with this important report.

P.S. Do I really look that old?

Chesapeake man sues in 13-year fight to clear his name

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

By Matthew Bowers
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 26, 2011

CHESAPEAKE

John Shelby thought his new bosses at an El Paso, Texas, casino were playing around when they withdrew their job offer for him to manage three of their bars.

They weren’t.

A background check showed he was a felon, and he was supposed to be in the city jail. Right then.

“I made a joke about it,” Shelby said. ” ‘Yeah, I escape every morning to come to work.’ Because I thought they were joking.”

It’s no joke to Shelby now, after more than a decade of losing or being passed over for jobs, which Shelby said forced him to live on the streets for a while.

“I had no idea what was in store for me,” said Shelby, who lives in Chesapeake.

Shelby claims police in El Paso negligently linked his name to someone else’s criminal record in 1997 when that man gave Shelby’s name as his own.

That record pops up when prospective employers run background checks on Shelby, limiting or killing his chances at securing a job.

And that, Shelby argues, violates his civil rights by invading his privacy and ruining his ability to make a living.

More than 13 years after he lost the casino job, Shelby has a $7.5 million federal lawsuit pending against the city of El Paso. At an initial hearing in Texas on Friday, a judge allowed the case to continue and ordered the parties to develop a trial schedule, said Stephen Casey, Shelby’s Austin, Texas-based lawyer and Regent University law graduate.

Shelby didn’t know it, but his ordeal began in 1991 when, at 19, he was arrested on a charge of trespassing at his old high school, according to interviews with Shelby and Casey, court filings and other documents.

Shelby said he was there to pick up a student friend. The school district dropped the charge.

Shelby went on a stint in the Navy, and jobs such as delivery driver and bartender.

Things changed for him when the casino job came – and quickly went – in late 1997.

He learned that earlier that year, police arrested the man who gave Shelby’s name. The man had heard of Shelby through a family both knew.

Shelby and his lawyer say police added Shelby’s personal information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, from his 1991 file despite obvious differences in height, weight and age. They also claim in the suit that police didn’t compare fingerprints.

The man is serving a life sentence in Texas for aggravated robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice data online.

After Shelby lost the casino job, police at first told him the problem was “cleared up ” and gave him a letter stating so.

But the erroneous record lived on in various databases that background-check companies use. Shelby’s name remained listed as an alias for the other man.

Jobs became elusive. He’d get passed over and not know why. The Postal Service hired him as a carrier in Suffolk and then, according to his suit, a supervisor fired him for “dishonesty” because of his record check. Shelby had already begun orientation; instead, Shelby said, he became homeless.

Repeated calls to El Paso authorities proved fruitless, although they expunged his 1991 arrest record by January 2008. He also called elected officials. He started a website, www.goodnamegone.com.

Meanwhile, he obtained entry-level jobs, but the record thwarted promotions. He gave up his dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher. He hasn’t tried to vote, having been told the felonies on the record would forestall registration.

An El Paso police officer’s “fervent desire to ‘ fill in the blanks’ ” on an arrest report did far-reaching damage, Casey, the lawyer, wrote to El Paso officials in a September 2010 letter seeking a settlement.

“You’ve got this bell that’s been rung by the city of El Paso and it can’t be un-rung,” Casey said in an interview. “All they can do is clean up the mess.”

An El Paso police spokesman and a city spokeswoman said they couldn’t talk about Shelby’s situation because of the pending suit.

Brian Falco of San Diego previously worked with an organization that combated identity theft, and Falco has continued trying to help Shelby. He called Shelby’s situation unusual; solving such problems takes time and money, making them low priorities for busy law-enforcement officials, he said.

“Ever deal with a bureaucracy?” he asked in an interview. “If you’re wrongly installed in there, it takes an act of God to get it out of there…. Because some paperwork is messed up, you shouldn’t not be able to get a decent job.”

At age 39, Shelby delivers pizzas because that’s one of the few jobs he can land without a background check.

He hasn’t been able to save for retirement or college for his two young children. He and his wife, a saleswoman, have no health insurance. Finances are so tight, in fact, they’re moving today to Florida because they no longer can afford their Greenbrier home.

“I’ve had my moments when I’ve been straight-up depressed,” Shelby said. “It’s been a heck of a hard road.”

Shelby said he has tried looking at the past 13-plus years as a learning experience – “how to overcome adversity, maybe.”

One lesson learned, he said, has been to not tie his self-worth to a job, but instead to things like being a good father and husband.

He jokes his wife, Bethany, remains “so positive it annoys me.” But there are limits, she said.

“The main thing, really, has been watching that zest dwindle from John,” she said. “It makes me sad….

“They see it as one mistake. They don’t see it as 10 years of building a crappy resume… that affects the rest of your life.”

Both hope the lawsuit changes things.

“If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Shelby said. “I can’t deliver pizzas all my life.”

Matthew Bowers, (757) 222-5221, matthew.bowers@pilotonline.com

FULL STORY: Identity Theft Ruins Man’s Employment Chances

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

See the video of this news story at:

http://www.ktsm.com/news/full-story-identity-theft-ruins-mans-employment-chances

By Lindsey Reiser – Multimedia Journalist
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 – 5:39pm

A man in Virginia Beach says his identity was stolen in El Paso, and now his failed background checks have prevented him from getting a job.

John Shelby had a arrest on his record in El Paso; it was a trespassing charge that he says was dropped before it went to court. But because his name and mug shot were in the system, a suspect could easily steal his identity by using his name upon arrest. And that’s exactly what he says happened.

“He didn’t have anything but my name when he was arrested,” Shelby said. He says a man named Jason Newton used his name when Newton was arrested.

“It kind of caused an identity crises for myself a little bit,” Shelby said. Years after his criminal charge in El Paso was dropped, he applied for a job, but was turned down.

“They said at that time I was in El Paso County Jail according to their background check,” he said. After some calls, Shelby thought it was taken care of.

“The officer sent me a letter and it said I had no record on file and it was all taken care of,” he said.

Shelby tried to move on, but every time he applied for a job, he was always passed up. Frustrated, Shelby turned to the El Paso records department. But they told him to hire a lawyer if he wanted his name cleared.

“That I needed to take responsibility for my own life and stop blaming them for my misfortune,” Shelby said.

“We need to have tight safeguards on this to make sure it doesn’t ruin someone’s life,” said Shelby’s attorney in Austin, Stephen Casey. Casey says several people are at fault for what’s happened to his client. But how could this have happened? Newton and Shelby have different hair colors, eye colors, heights, and weights. Casey thinks someone just pulled up Shelby’s prior arrest and didn’t verify that Newton was telling the truth.

“Originally it was the people who put in the information for the arrest report of Jason Newton,” Casey said. “They didn’t verify the information.”

Shelby’s background checks still show those arrests and he says delivering pizzas is the only job he’s been able to get.

“I gave up on school because I figure what’s the point, I’ve never had a job I feel suitable for,” Shelby said.

We’re told Newton is serving a life sentence right now in the alleged beating of a man. Shelby has filed a lawsuit against the city of El Paso for identity theft. We called the city for comment and they said they couldn’t comment because it was a police issue. We called police and they told us they could not comment, even on their procedures upon verifying someone’s identity upon arrest, until they consulted with the city attorney’s office.

Channel 8 News In Austin,Tx.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

A special THANK YOU to Channel 8 News in Austin reporter, Sophia Wurz and to my attorney Stephen Casey, for putting this together. Great Job!

Thanks for helping get out the message of what Identity Theft can do to a person.

If you even suspect that you could be a victim of Criminal Identity Theft, check up on yourself. Check your credit reports and your own criminal record on a yearly basis at the least. Whether you are a victim of an actual Identity Thief or just the victim of a so-called “clerical error” of your local Police Department, the first step in fixing the problem is identifying it.

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