In the Media

Background check companies sometimes rely on partial information, like a birth year versus a full birth date, resulting in frequent mixups, experts said. "It's a much harder problem with criminal background reports, because oftentimes there is no date of birth or Social Security number provided," said Adam G. Singer, a consumer protection lawyer.

"When dealing with public records, often you may just have a first and last name, and possibly an address, and the credit bureaus and background check companies won't always insist on an exact match," Singer said.

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“Contractor licensing and home remodeling is kind of like the Wild West,” said Adam G. Singer, an attorney specializing in consumer protection with offices in Manhattan, Rockland and Westchester counties.

Signing a Contract
When it comes time to draw up a contract, make sure it stipulates that the contractor must put any advance payments into an escrow account, Mr. Singer said. This is one way to ensure that the contractor doesn’t use your deposit to pay for his next vacation. “If you’re nervous about how the contract should be worded, hire a lawyer to look one over,” Mr. Singer said.

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