CONSUMER ALERT: JOB SEEKERS SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR CREDIT CHECKS

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June 20, 2012

LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel knows many Arkansans are looking for jobs, and he wants them to be prepared for the process. Prospective employers may review background information from job seekers as part of the hiring process.

"Being in the job market is mentally, emotionally and financially tough for Arkansas consumers. Being prepared for requests from potential employers and knowing your rights as a job-seeker will assist in your search," McDaniel said.

In addition to checking your references, employers may conduct a background check before offering you a position with their company. Employment background checks frequently access some or all of the following information:
• Credit history
• Criminal record
• Employment history
• Driving record
McDaniel issued a consumer alert today to make sure job seekers know prospective employers must get the applicant's permission before ordering a credit report.

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division recommends getting a copy of your own credit report before applying for a job. A credit report will show whether you pay your bills on time, how much money you owe and if someone has a judgment against you.

You should know what is in your report and check it for accuracy before a prospective employer sees the report. To get a free credit report, visit www.annuralcreditreport.com or call Annual Credit Report at (877) 322-8228.

If the employer does not hire you because of information in your credit report, he must tell you. This is called giving you an adverse action notice. The employer also must give you the name, address and phone number of the company that wrote the report. You can ask this company for a copy of your report. It is free if you ask for it within 60 days of not getting the job.

Those seeking jobs should also know that prospective employers may access any publicly-available information about applicants. Sources for this publicly-available information include social networking sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and information filed with government entities that provide electronic records via the internet, such as real estate transactions and court filing.

The Consumer Protection Division urges consumers to make sure that their social networking profiles utilize the highest privacy settings available.

For more information about consumer-related issues, or to file a complaint, visit GotYourBackArkansas.org or call the Consumer Protection Division's hotline at (800) 482-8982.