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June 19 2014

Two Data Brokers Settle FTC Charges That They Sold Consumer Data Without Complying With Protections Required Under the FCRA

"Two data brokers have agreed to settle FTC charges that they violated the FCRA by providing reports about consumers to users such as prospective employers and landlords without taking reasonable steps to make sure that they were accurate, or without making sure their users had a permissible reason to have them.

The two companies - Instant Checkmate, Inc., and InfoTrack Information Services - have agreed to pay civil penalties and will be prohibited from continuing their alleged illegal practices. According to the FTC 's complaints, both companies operated as consumer reporting agencies under the law but failed to abide by the FCRA.

The FTC charged, among other things, that in many instances InfoTrack provided inaccurate information suggesting that job applicants potentially were registered sex offenders, possibly causing employers to reject their job application. According to the complaint against Instant Checkmate, the company failed to require that users of its reports identify themselves or certify the purpose for which they were seeking consumers ' information. ""Consumers shouldn 't have to worry that they 'll be turned down for a job or an apartment because of false information in a consumer report,"" said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC 's Bureau of Consumer Protection."