Mobile app marketers received letters from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a number of six mobile applications used to perform background checks. The FTC warns the companies that if their applications are used for employment screening, housing or credit purposes, they must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).Everify, marketer of Police Records app, InfoPay, that offers Criminal Pages, and Intelligator, marketer of Background Checks, Criminal Records Search, Investigate and Locate Anyone, People Search and Investigator apps all received letters from the FTC, informing them that they may be violating the FCRA.
“If you have reason to believe that your background reports are being used for employment or other FCRA purposes, you and your customers who are using your reports for such purposes must comply with the FCRA,” the letters read.
Some of the applications include criminal record histories, and since such information is normally used for employment and tenant screening, it’s important that it’s accurate. This is one of the actual roles of the FCRA, to ensure that the information supplied by consumer reporting organizations is accurate.
Thus far the applications in question have not been identified as reporting inaccurate information, but the FTC has sent the letters as a precaution, to make sure that the marketers are aware of the risks and that they take all the necessary measures to ensure that the reports they provide are correct.
For the time being, the FTC is only issuing warning letters, but if the companies are identified as violating the act, the Commission may take legal actions against them, and even fine them with penalties of up to $3,500 (2,500 EUR) per violation.
Hopefully, the companies that received the letters have and will continue to verify that the reports they issue are highly accurate, especially since innocent individuals may suffer because of an incorrect piece of information.