Don’t Fall for the Background Check Scam!


I recently received an email from a company trying to ensnare me in a background check scam. Here’s what tipped me off that it wasn’t legit.

The email looked legit, with the name and logo of a legitimate company. I quickly realized it was a background check scam.

I received an email at my work email address. The email warned me a consumer reporting agency is “reporting the criminal or other public record information that may be adverse” about me to my employer.

It listed my employer, as if to show me that they knew who I actually was.

“The above listed employer has certified that it uses such public record information to determine your eligibility for employment, promotion, reassignment, retention, placement and/or volunteering,” the email stated.

If I have questions, I should click a link (which I never do) or call a toll-free number.

Just for fun, I called. I felt confident my company had not ordered a background check. After working there almost 15 years, I think they know me by now.

I also know I have committed no criminal activity. There should be no “other” public record information to report, either.

My boss, our news director, is incredibly adept at finding details in public records. If such bad news about me existed, she might know before I did. But I’d hear it from her, not some company I never heard of.

A background check scam reveals itself

When I called the number, I expected to hear someone with a thick foreign accent. I find that’s usually how scams operate.

This time, however, I heard an articulate, English-speaking female voice. She sounded like she was in a good mood.

But she was a recording.

The recorded voice instructed me to speak slowly and record several pieces of information. They wanted my first and last name, the name of my employer and my phone number.

The fifth item on the list raised the red flag.

As part of the voicemail I was supposed to leave them, they wanted me to leave my social security number. Everyone, I hope, knows that giving out your social security number is a major no-no.

I wouldn’t give that to a live operator. I certainly wouldn’t leave it on a recording. I’d have no way of knowing who’d hear it and where it’d go.

Either way, I wouldn’t know what someone might do with it.

So if they want to send negative information to my employer, good luck to them. I think my employer will know better.

They’ll have to fool someone else. And I hope it’s not you.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.