Recently, it has come to my attention that some affiliates of credit reporting services are posting questionable job ads – for relatively high-paying ($22+ per hour), no skill or experience required and with immediate start dates – and then asking applicants to first send them screenshots from a credit reporting service. These services, however, while often advertise themselves as “free,” often require applicants to provide a credit card number and to pay other fees or sign up for subscriptions.
While there is no federal or Illinois law strictly prohibiting employers charging for legitimate background checks, they still must comply with the disclosure and other rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).
If a prospective employer wants such a background check, take steps to ensure that it is a legitimate company offering a real job and not just a scam artist trying to earn referral money from a credit reporting service. One possible consideration is asking if you are allowed to provide a background check from a vendor of your choosing. You may also wish to consult an attorney, having handy all correspondence related to job application and background check, to evaluate whether everything is legitimate.
Finally, if you believe you have been a victim of a scam involving your credit, you may wish to contact the Illinois Attorney General’s office and/or consult with an attorney specializing in consumer fraud, since a situation where there is no real job opening
really does not present a prototypical employment law issue.