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I had applied to work at a grocery store. Part of the online hiring process was to fill out some questions that prove I am who I claim I am. I guess this was an alternative to showing someone your ID. The way it worked was I was presented with a list of 5 options and I had to pick the one that was true for me. For example it showed me several addresses, one of which I lived in temporarily a long time ago. Also they asked who my cellphone provider was. How would they know this? The company used for the service was TransUnion. Are their any safety precautions that can/should be taken? I was slightly concerned with was some kind of phishing attempt and they didn't actually know the correct answer until I gave it to them.

Is all of the information from credit reports and background checks given to the potential employer? Some questions are illegal to ask a candidate, like what they're exact age is, but on background checks this is often asked. In general should a job offer be made contingent on the checks coming clean, or can a company do a check on a candidate who they aren't serious about hiring?

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They don’t know anything about you, they connect to a credit service company that does the validation, and of course the validation is rather weak if you have been a blather mouth on Facebook. Typical questions are cars you’ve owned, addresses you have lived at, loans you’ve had for cars, houses or schools. All of which some people frequently post to social media sites.

As for whether the information is given to the employer, they could get it, but they would have to pay for it, and why should they? What use would it be to the employer to know that you lived in Hoboken for 3 months 19 years ago? They just want to know that you are who you say you are.

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For example it showed me several addresses, one of which I lived in temporarily a long time ago. Also they asked who my cellphone provider was. How would they know this?

TransUnion is one of three credit bureaus, when you signed the contract with your current cell phone provider, it was linked to your credit.

Are their any safety precautions that can/should be taken? I was slightly concerned with was some kind of phishing attempt and they didn't actually know the correct answer until I gave it to them.

Identify theft in order to get a job is extremely real. What is more difficult is to steal an identity and know critical information like you were asked. I suspect the company might have been using E-Verify or a similar program, although I am not entirely sure, since I have never had a job that would have used it.

Is all of the information from credit reports and background checks given to the potential employer?

This employer likely never saw the answers just the results (positive or negative) of the verification process.

Some questions are illegal to ask a candidate, like what they're exact age is, but on background checks this is often asked. In general should a job offer be made contingent on the checks coming clean, or can a company do a check on a candidate who they aren't serious about hiring?

It seems like a waste of time and money to have you go through a employment verification check for a candidate they are not interested in actually potentially hiring. Seems like it would be easier to simply not hire that individual.

What you describe wasn’t a background check. If you didn’t provide the details on a form itself, about your background, it wasn’t a background check.

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Normally, those hiring companies run a software provided by credit companies. Or they connect you to a web server (somewhat) secure at the credit company.

No one but you should see the response choices and your answers. So, when done correctly, the hiring company don't get to learn the private information. They only get to know whether you are who you claim to be.

Now, if you accepted to sit in front of the questionnaire with the HR person and let them look at the screen, then it's a different matter.

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