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I’ve been looking for a job. What do employers see when they do credit checks and background checks?

Hundreds of companies provide employment background checks and qualify as consumer reporting agencies.  Employment reports often include credit checks, criminal background checks, public records–such as bankruptcy filings and other court documents–and information related to your employment history.

An employer needs to get your written permission if it seeks an employment background report on you. Generally, if an employer wants to use the information from the report to take an “adverse action” against you, such as not hiring you, it must give you a copy of the report it received beforehand. You will also receive an “adverse action” notice when the employer takes the action against you. The "adverse action” notice will include the name and contact information of the consumer reporting agency from which the employer got the consumer report.

Just like with the big three consumer reporting agencies, you can get free copies of your reports every 12 months from many of the specialty consumer reporting agencies. Other specialty consumer reporting agencies may be able to charge you a fee for your report. Keep in mind that not every agency will have information on everyone.

We’ve put together a list of some of these specialty consumer reporting agencies, along with some information about how you can obtain copies of your reports.