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Mobile Background Screening Provider in Trouble: Know Your Background Screening Company

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March 14, 2013 Return to News & Events

Mobile Background Screening Provider in Trouble: Know Your Background Screening Company

On January 10, 2013 the Federal Trade Commission settled charges filed against a marketer that offered background checks via a mobile Smartphone app.

An enterprise that compiled and sold criminal record reports has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it operated as a consumer reporting agency without taking consumer protection measures required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FTC’s settlement order, which prohibits the respondents from future FCRA violations, resolves the agency’s first FCRA case involving mobile apps.

The availability of instantaneous information increases almost daily and entrepreneurs are offering new methods and platforms to gain access to this information. However, the potential for misuse of information increases as well.

Third-party background screening companies often utilize website portals as a means of securely transmitting information with their clients. Companies invest in the highest security protocols to ensure information does not get into the wrong hands. With the increased use of Smartphones and consumer demands for quick, instant, and easy access to information, applications appear daily to fulfill consumers requirements. Further, the use of Smartphones as a main data retrieval device is becoming more prevalent.

Adam Almeida, CEO and President of states: "More and more people are utilizing Smartphones as a primary tool for data retrieval. The diversity and availability of mobile apps available has exploded in the last few years. Their use as a data retrieval device for background screening purposes has a variety of challenges."

The FTC's complaint against Filiquarian Publishing LLC and Choice Level LLC, as well as their CEO, Joshua Linsk states that these entities "failed to ensure that the information they sold was accurate and would be used only for legally permissible purposes."

Third-party background screening companies that provide criminal background checks operate under the regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FTC found that the above mentioned parties failed to operate in such a manner.

The FTC also alleged that they failed to tell users of their criminal record reports about their obligations under the FCRA, including the requirement to notify consumers if an adverse action was taken against them based on a report. is an Internet based third-party background screening company. As part of their service, provides an on-line portal for their clients to retrieve and exchange information. One might construe this as an app of sorts, but the primary difference is that, as with many third-party background screening companies, conducts business fully within the rules and regulations as set for by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Almeida further states: " has always operated within the guidelines of the FCRA and anyone that uses a third-party background screening company should ensure their provider does as well."

Background screening is a critical part of hiring, both in a pre- and post- hire environment. The information gathered can be highly sensitive and must be treated in a compliant, secure manner; one that upholds the Fair Credit Reporting Act and protects the consumer. One must fully understand their perspective third-party background screening companies’ capabilities as well as their compliancy to all state and federal regulations.

To learn more about background screening reports, and employers’ obligations and employees’ rights under the FCRA, read Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know, Employment Background Checks, and What to Know When You Look for a Job, and see the video,What to Know When Looking for a Job. is a national third-party background screening company that works with companies and organizations of all sizes. They provide safe, secure, and fully-compliant background screening documents.

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