FCRA Introduction and FTC Prescribed Notices

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to regulate the use of consumer report information and other background information received about individuals from Consumer Reporting Agencies.

The FCRA defines a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) as any person or entity who regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. Universal Background Screening is a Consumer Reporting Agency under the law.

The FCRA applies to a number of different types of entities. In addition to CRAs, these include furnishers of information, end-users, resellers, and the individuals who are the subject of the consumer report, namely, consumers. End-users are the individuals or entities that procure consumer reports from a CRA to use for business or employment purposes. For example, a company that orders background checks about job applicants is considered an end-user of consumer reports.

The FCRA defines two types of reports compiled by CRAs into “consumer reports” or “investigative consumer reports.” Consumer Reports are written, oral or other communications of a consumer reporting agency which bear upon a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which are used (or expected to be used) as a factor in establishing eligibility for employment purposes or for obtaining credit or a loan. These reports may include but are not limited to credit history, as well as driving records, criminal records, etc. Investigative Consumer Reports include information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends or associates of the consumer or acquaintances of the consumer. The most common type of investigative consumer reports are education or employment reference checks.

As a Consumer Reporting Agency, Universal Background Screening must provide the End-users to whom it provides reports with a notice of their responsibilities under FCRA. In conjunction with the notices and certifications contained in our Service Agreement, Universal Background Screening is providing the following three documents as part of our compliance efforts to notify you, as an End-user, of your obligations under the law:

Consumer Reports contain sensitive information and there are legal obligations related to end-user’s procurement, use, protection, storage and disposal of consumer reports. Universal Background Screening is not legal counsel, cannot and does not provide legal advice. We recommend you work with your legal counsel to develop a screening program, along with policies and procedures related to consumer reports (including, but not limited to adverse action, authorized dissemination, confidential retention and secure destruction), that are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws.