When a company considers hiring you, they run a background check. When a landlord considers letting you lease a commercial or residential space, they do the same thing. That background check lets them know if you have been truthful with them, if you are actually qualified and if they can trust you.

But can you trust the background check?

Your whole future can hang in the balance. You count on that check to be accurate. But what if it’s not? Even a simple mistake could keep you from getting a job, finding housing, getting into college and much more. It could effectively ruin your life, even though you never did anything wrong.

Clearly the wrong man

You may think that it would be easy to get through this type of situation if it was clear that someone else had just made a mistake. Not so fast. Even when the evidence is all in your favor, the ramifications could be devastating.

For instance, one man signed up to get a subsidized apartment. They ran a background check and found serious felony charges. He felt shocked when they mentioned it and told them he had never gotten charged, much less convicted. He hadn’t broken the law, and certainly not in the way the report claimed.

The leasing agent who was working with the man showed him the report. The birthday and name were similar to his own, but it was not him. There was a picture. The alleged criminal had face tattoos that the man trying to lease the apartment did not have. That was not the only difference; they were clearly two different people, and the leasing agent even agreed with him. The report was for the wrong man.

But these apartments are competitive. The man lost the spot he held on the waitlist anyway, he did not get the apartment and he had to move in with a relative.

Again, he had committed no crimes. He knew it. The leasing agent knew it. That did not matter. He still lost his housing when he should have gotten it, and the false report derailed plans for his life. All of that was out of his hands, and he did not even know there was a problem prior to the report.

Fixing the issue

Fixing issues like this is possible, but it is a complex and often difficult process. On top of that, the damage may already be done, as it was for this man. It is crucial that anyone who finds themselves in this position in Minnesota know exactly what legal options and rights they have.