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  • Background Investigation

    I am in the background process for a state investigative agency. The background has been standard with a personal history questionnaire, credit history release form, etc.

    The investigator called me the other day and said everything looked good but there was some "pretty serious" stuff on my credit history. He then proceeds to ask me about my two credit cards and my student loans; specifically he asked why I have a balance on my credit cards and wanted to know what I was using my credit cards for. I explained to him that typically we (my wife and I) pay off the cards every month but had some medical expenses in the last few months and we elected to make payments on the cards rather than pay them off fully. I would like to note that we always pay on time and pay more than the minimum. Same with my student loans.

    I pulled my credit report, the same one the investigator pulled, and looked over everything. No late payments on anything and nothing has ever gone to collections.

    I guess my question is: why did he state there was serious stuff with my credit history when I clearly have no problems reflected on the report? It just seemed odd and I don't know if the guy was trying to shake me down for information on bad spending habits/gambling etc or he does not know how credit reports work?

    Thanks for the insight.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cdub91 View Post
    I am in the background process for a state investigative agency. The background has been standard with a personal history questionnaire, credit history release form, etc.

    The investigator called me the other day and said everything looked good but there was some "pretty serious" stuff on my credit history. He then proceeds to ask me about my two credit cards and my student loans; specifically he asked why I have a balance on my credit cards and wanted to know what I was using my credit cards for. I explained to him that typically we (my wife and I) pay off the cards every month but had some medical expenses in the last few months and we elected to make payments on the cards rather than pay them off fully. I would like to note that we always pay on time and pay more than the minimum. Same with my student loans.

    I pulled my credit report, the same one the investigator pulled, and looked over everything. No late payments on anything and nothing has ever gone to collections.

    I guess my question is: why did he state there was serious stuff with my credit history when I clearly have no problems reflected on the report? It just seemed odd and I don't know if the guy was trying to shake me down for information on bad spending habits/gambling etc or he does not know how credit reports work?

    Thanks for the insight.
    Saved.

    Your background investigator knows exactly how things work.

    The change in your credit usage, going from paying off smaller balances every month to not paying off larger balances every month, spread across multiple credit cards, is a red flag that merits further scrutiny. It could indicate that you're in financial trouble, which could make you vulnerable to corruption if they were to hire you.

    Comment


    • #3
      We usually spend $5-$10k a month on our credit cards, but that's because we do everything on credit. But it's always paid off and we never carry a balance. However, depending on when the report is pulled and when the credit companies report to the credit bureaus, it can look like you have a spending or debt problem.

      I had the same situation in one of my backgrounds. I ended up having to provide 6 months of credit card and bank statements even though my credit score was in the 800's. Didn't end up being an issue. Just be honest and explain what is going on. Medical debt always looks problematic.

      ​​​​​​Some agencies are gonna be more picky than others depending on the work involved. If the job deals with cash, fraud or anything bank related they want to weed out anyone that's gonna have financial problems or someone who might be open to some type of extortion or kickbacks. At my agency, sworn LE guys with 20 years on that move into financial crimes investigations are required to go through a whole new background. Don't take it personal. Maybe the investigator doesn't know how credit scores or reports work but I doubt it.

      Good luck. If they pass on you and your financials are in good shape just remember there are a lot of places hurting for people right now so maybe cast a wider net.

      Comment


      • #4
        Maybe what you and the BI consider “serious” are miles apart. I run no monthly CC balance, live well below my budget, and would consider Any amount of money not paid off serious.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. I guess I didn't realize they would see that as an issue. My wife and I have had credit cards for over 10 years and have paid them off every month for 10 years. The last two months have been the exception where we have been making payments rather than paying them off.

          Comment


          • #6
            You state that you “elected” to make payments, vs paying off the cards in full, why would you elect to that? Why would anyone elect to pay 30% interest on a CC?!

            To ANY adult, especially a trained LEO BI, this screams that you’re not being honest. Why not just state that you fell on hard times, medical expenses crept up, you don’t have the money to pay off the cards in full, but are keeping up with monthly payments?

            BIs are trained to dig through to the truth, outside of what even normal adults can perceive,…….

            Comment


            • 9L81
              9L81 commented
              Editing a comment
              30% is that for real or did you just throw a number out? My CC was 7.45% for like 10 years when the fed rate was 0. Now it's up to 10 or 11% I think. 30% if real, is seriously messed up. Sounds like Mafia rates.

            • NolaT
              NolaT commented
              Editing a comment
              You’re not answering the question.

              I’ll rephrase it:

              You state that you “elected” to make payments, vs paying off the cards in full, why would you elect to pay that? Why would anyone elect to pay 11% interest on a CC?!

            • Iowa #1603
              Iowa #1603 commented
              Editing a comment
              Because they don't have the cash to pay off the cards in full. So they pay ON the debt

              Plus 9L81 is not the OP to whom you responded

            • NolaT
              NolaT commented
              Editing a comment
              Good eyes Iowa!

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