Arrested Due To A Database Error

from the doesn't-sound-like-fun dept

Well, here's a story that combines a few different things we've seen lately, from police (and star basketball players) raiding the home of the wrong person due to a faulty IP address to the fact that all these big data mining companies often have wrong info about you, including incorrect criminal records. In this case, a guy who got a job as a security guard as a retailer ended up spending a week in jail after the company did a background check on him and data mining firm Choicepoint (whose name became well known when they sold info to a group of identity theft scammers) incorrectly found that there were arrest warrants out for this guy for child molestation and rape. The problem was that the guy had been a victim of identity theft earlier, and while he had reported it, Choicepoint didn't take that into account. It's somewhat amusing (if disturbing) that a firm that had sold data to identity thieves later was unable to fix the false data in someone's file that was due to identity theft. Still, at what point do people realize that a single piece of data from these unreliable sources just isn't enough to arrest someone? Update: A Choicepoint employee in the comments points out that this happened a few years ago, and that Choicepoint was fine over it. He then accuses us of making the same mistake as Choicepoint in not following up to get the latest details. Of course, there's a bit of difference. No one went to jail when our story was a bit out of date.

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  1. identicon
    CP Employee, 30 Oct 2006 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did He Sue Choicepoint

    Funny, I had a pretty bad experience when I was laid off in 2001

    - Lost my car
    - Lost my house
    - Had no medical coverage and couldn't go to the doctor when I got the flu (no free clinics in the area)
    - Lost 50 lbs due to not enough money for food (20 lbs UNDERweight)
    - Almost lost my wife and kids

    In a way, CP saved my life by offering me a nice job in an area where I could do the work. Yes, they took a chance on me as I was a credit risk, but I had the skills they needed at the time and have proven myself a valuable employee. So, yes, I didn't get a shiv in the back or make any nice friends in the shower, but I wouldn't exactly call unemployment a walk in the park.

    It's easy for any of us to say "It was only a week" or "Just get a new job", but until you actually walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you really have no idea how bad it could be. Could CP have had better policies and procedures in place 4 1/2 years ago when this happened? Yes. Could the police department that did the arresting have done a better job of checking their facts? Yes. Could Fry's have done a better job of handling the results of the background check? Yes.

    Also, please don't confuse what I post as a complete defense for the company. I agree with the fact that they passed on incorrect information. However, does anyone have any idea where they GOT that information? Maybe the source is the problem. How about the police department that arrested Mr. Calderon? Did they bother to check his story? It would be nice to have many more facts than just the ones that make for a good story.


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