Lawsuit: Background-Check Service Incorrectly Reporting People As Sex Offenders

This may actually be worse than having the world think you’re dead. A new class-action suit claims that a credit and background checking company is reporting “hundreds or thousands of consumers as sex offenders in consumer reports provided to employers.”

The lead plaintiff in the case says he was a victim of laziness on the part of Infotrack Information Systems after the company reported that he was a sex offender because his first and last name — both incredibly common — matched that of a registered sex offender.

According to the lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago, Infotrack managed to confuse the plaintiff with a man in Virginia who had been convicted of rape in 1987, at which time the plaintiff had yet to turn four years old.

And when the plaintiff contacted Infotrack to complain, he says he was told “that the company’s consumer reports frequently contain inaccurate sex offender information when the consumer has a common first and last name and that consumers frequently complain about the problem.”

From the complaint:

This was not a one-time mistake on Infotrack’s part… Infotrack reports sex offender information about consumers whenever the consumer’s first and last name matches the first and last name of any sex offender in its national sex offender database. Moreover, it never checks to determine whether the consumer’s date of birth — or other personal identifying information — matches the date of birth of the actual sex offender. The failure to implement such basic cross-checking procedures has resulted in the erroneous labeling of hundreds or thousands of consumers as sex offenders in consumer reports provided to employers.

At this point, folks with names like Ebenezer Peppercorn are a little less mad at their parents for bestowing such unique monikers on them.

Class Claims Credit Reporter Misidentified ‘Hundreds or Thousands’ as Sex Offenders [Courthousenews.com]