Examiner.com Does Criminal Background Check of Bloggers!

A reader, Star Lawrence, who belongs to a local writers group, reports:

"I got a telephone call from Examiner.com about their blogging work–it wasn't too switft, blog for clicks sort of. Since I could change my daily health item in about a second and post it, I thought, well, maybe…Then they sent the forms–they wanted to do a criminal background check on writers. It said not a credit check, but there was info on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, so I was dubious on that count, too. We should be checking THEIR criminal records, some of these so-called employers. No way!"

Star Lawrence



Here is a copy of the e-mail Examiner sent to Star in an effort to recruit her:

Hi Star, Thanks for the phone chat, and first of all, congratulations on being approved to be an Examiner!

My name is George Shirk, a regional content editor at Examiner.com. I work with Molly Gilford, the program manager. Together, we're in charge of getting you all set up with your page and profile. You may have already received an email with the instructions below, but we wanted to reach out to say hi, and welcome you to the team as well.

If you haven't already done the following, please email the material listed below directly to Molly so she can be sure it gets into the right hands. About the background check: Examiner.com is doing a background check on all Examiners in order to make sure no one writing on the site might use the site for criminal activity.

This is not a check on credit, employment or anything other than criminal stuff. It is attached.

About compensation: We pay .50 per 1,000 page views. We do this through PayPal and you get paid when you hit the minimum threshold. This site is scaled to get very big, so we expect traffic to be excellent as we grow. Having said that, we'd like you to do two things to get you started:

1. Smile for the camera! If you;ve taken a look at the Examiners on the site, you'll see that they all have a photo of themselves on their page. Please make sure it is horizontal/ landscape as opposed to portrait. If you send a close up which is vertical, when we go to crop, we end up having to take off some of the top of your head, or your chin (so that's why we specify wider than it is tall. Just so you know, it ends up being 90 pixels wide by 75 pixels tall. We will resize the photo for you, just please send it as an attachment and not embedded in the email.

2. We also would like to have a bio of 35 words or less (right in the body of the email is preferable, as opposed to an attachment, but either will work). This bio will be placed next to your picture and will tell readers who you are and what you talk about on your page.

There's really no reason to tell people where you went to school or your whole life story, a simple statement of your experience and your topic will work fine, but do make sure to give readers a sense that you are credible. Here are examples of a bad bio and the same bio done the right way:

a. John Johnson attended The University of Texas at Austin from 1982-1986 and got a BA in Fine Arts. He went on to get his Masters in Film from NYU in 1989. He has loved film since he was a child when he first saw 'Gone With The Wind' on NBC over Thanksgiving. Now, he has a successful film studio and makes a living critiquing films for publications like The New York Times, US Weekly, and Newsweek. Come along with John as he takes you on a ride through the American cinematic landscape.

b. John Johnson loved film from on early age, so much so that he got a Masters degree in the topic. Now, he works in the film industry and writes reviews for major publications. When it comes to movies, John's your go-to guy. Also attached is a background form that we use to check criminal background (make sure you check "no" to any other questions on the form. The form goes directly to Molly, so don't worry about safety in sending it. She is very careful and keeps them locked away at all times. You can print it out, fill it in, sign it and then either scan it and email it to her at mgilford@examiner.com, or if you prefer, you can fax it to 303-299-1505.

The fax comes directly to her desk, so there is no need for a cover sheet. If you have already sent it, please ignore this portion of the email.

Again, congratulations! We are all very excited to have you as a new examiner and we're eager to get you up and running as soon as possible. As soon as we can get you up and live on the site, the better. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Molly.

Her email address is mgilford@examiner.com, and my own contact information is below.


George Shirk | Content Director Examiner.com/ San Francisco

gshirk@examiner.com 760-965-4268 (Skype)

Yahoo IM: george.hawkeye52


Here is a copy of the credit report that Examiner asked to do on Star:

Consent to Procure Consumer Report

Notice of Intent to Procure Consumer Report (Background Check)

Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681

procedure for employment, promotion or retention, we may obtain and review consumer report(s) and/or investigative consumer

report(s) for employment purposes concerning you (Background Check). These report(s) will be obtained through the following

Consumer Reporting Agency:

Louisiana driving history records (DMV/MVR) will be obtained through ADR (American Driving Records). You have the right to

make a written request, within a reasonable period of time after receiving this notice, for additional disclosures as to the nature and

scope of any consumer report(s) we obtain. You are also entitled to receive a copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s

publication, “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” which you will find attached to this document.

You may have additional rights under state law.

et seq., this notice is to inform you that as part of our evaluationFrasco® Profiles, 215 W. Alameda Avenue, Burbank, CA, 91502; Phone: (800) 820-9029.

Authorization to Conduct Background Check:

By signing below, I authorize Frasco

results to the employer named below. I understand this report may contain information as to my character, general reputation,

personal characteristics, or mode of living, such as my work habits, work performance and experience, reasons for discipline or

termination from any current or prior employment, history of earnings, credit worthiness, credit standing or credit capacity,

criminal history, civil history, driving history, and other related matters that may concern my eligibility for the position or

promotion I am seeking. Frasco® Profiles will not provide any information where such disclosure is restricted by federal or state


By signing below, I authorize any present or past employer, supervisor or agent of the employer; high school, college, university or

other institution of learning; local, state or federal court; department of motor vehicles, military branch or the national personnel

records center; state sex offender registry, state licensing board, state workers’ compensation agency, credit bureau, personal or

professional reference; to release records or information to Frasco

history, social security number, earnings history, credit file, address history, educational history, character, reputation, and

employment (including documented reasons for termination or discipline) and release such from any and all liability for any

damage that may result from the furnishing of this information. This authorization shall be valid in original, faxed or photocopied

form. This authorization shall expire upon termination of my employment with the employer named below.

® Profiles, to conduct an employment-related background check on me and to provide the® Profiles concerning my name, criminal history, motor vehicle


Applicant Name:

Any other Names used for Employment or Education:

Applicant Address:

Social Security Number: Date of Birth:

Driver's License Number: State:

May we contact your current employer?

Signature: Date:

�� YES �� NO �� Not Currently Employed

* I understand that if the above named employer requests a copy of my consumer report for employment purposes, I have the right


understand that by checking “yes” below, a copy will be provided to me at the address I provided above.

receive a copy of my consumer report (background check) (CA, MN, OK only) �� Yes �� No

215 W. Alameda Ave.

Burbank, CA 91505

(800) 820-9029


Para informacion en espanol, visite www.ftc.gov/credit o escribe a la FTC Consumer Response Center, Room 130-A 600

Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. , Washington, D.C. 20580.

A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files

of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty

agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records).

Here is a summary of your major rights under the FCRA.

rights, go to www.ftc.gov/credit or write to: Consumer Response Center, Room 130-A, Federal Trade Commission, 600

Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

For more information, including information about additional


type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment – or to take another adverse action

against you – must tell you, and must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the


You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or another


a consumer reporting agency (your “file disclosure”). You will be required to provide proper identification, which may

include your Social Security number. In many cases, the disclosure will be free. You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:

You have the right to know what is in your file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in the files of


a person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report;


you are the victim of identity theft and place a fraud alert in your file;


your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud;


you are on public assistance;


In addition, by September 2005 all consumers will be entitled to one free disclosure every 12 months upon request from

each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. See www.ftc.gov/credit for

additional information.

you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.


information from credit bureaus. You may request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies that create scores or

distribute scores used in residential real property loans, but you will have to pay for it. In some mortgage transactions, you

will receive credit score information for free from the mortgage lender.

You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on


incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is

frivolous. See www.ftc.gov/credit for an explanation of dispute procedures.

You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is


incomplete or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected, usually within 30 days. However, a consumer

reporting agency may continue to report information it has verified as accurate.

Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate,


agency may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years


Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information. In most cases, a consumer reporting


valid need – usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business. The FCRA

specifies those with a valid need for access.

Access to your file is limited. A consumer reporting agency may provide information about you only to people with a


information about you to your employer, or a potential employer, without your written consent given to the employer.

Written consent generally is not required in the trucking industry. For more information, go to www.ftc.gov/credit.

You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers. A consumer reporting agency may not give out


You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.

Unsolicited “prescreened” offers for credit and insurance must include a toll-free phone number you can call if you choose

to remove your name and address from the lists these offers are based on. You may opt-out with the nationwide credit

bureaus at 1-888-567-8688.


a furnisher of information to a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you may be able to sue in state or federal


You may seek damages from violators. If a consumer reporting agency, or, in some cases, a user of consumer reports or



Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights. For more information, visit

States may enforce the FCRA, and many states have their own consumer reporting laws. In some cases, you may have

more rights under state law. For more informat
on, contact your state or local consumer protection agency or your

state Attorney General. Federal enforcers are:


Consumer reporting agencies, creditors and others not listed below Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Response Center – FCRA

Washington, DC 20580 1-877-382-4357

National banks, federal branches/agencies of foreign banks (word

“National” or initials “N.A.” appear in or after bank’s name)

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Compliance Management, Mail Stop 6-6

Washington, DC 20219 1-800-613-6743

Federal Reserve System member banks (except national banks, and

federal branches/agencies of foreign banks)

Federal Reserve Board

Division of Consumer & Community Affairs

Washington, DC 20551 1-202-452-3693

Savings associations and federally chartered savings banks (word

“Federal” or initials “F.S.B.” appear in federal institution’s name)

Office of Thrift Supervision

Consumer Complaints

Washington, DC 20552 1-800-842-6929

Federal credit unions (words “Federal Credit Union” appear in

institution’s name)

National Credit Union Administration

1775 Duke Street

Alexandria, VA 22314 1-703-519-4600

State-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Consumer Response Center, 2345 Grand Avenue, Suite 100

Kansas City, Missouri 64108-2638 1-877-275-3342

Air, surface, or rail common carriers regulated by former Civil

Aeronautics Board or Interstate Commerce Commission

Department of Transportation, Office of Financial Management

Washington, DC 20590 1-202-366-1306

Activities subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921 Department of Agriculture

Office of Deputy Administrator – GIPSA

Washington, DC 20250 1-202-720-7051



California, Minnesota, and Oklahoma law to receive a copy of that consumer report from the employer free of charge. II would like to