PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How would you feel about your boss getting a peek at your credit history? If you’re out of a job and you’re looking for work it’s very possible you may be asked to share that information. As 3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, it’s a growing trend, that some are trying to stop.

Job hunter Lauryn Beer has experience, job skills and advanced degrees from prestigious universities. But she also has not-so-great credit. Lauryn believes that is costing her job opportunities. “It makes me very angry,” says Lauryn, who is finding out the hard way that employers care about your credit. Some even require credit checks as part of the application process. “There are millions of people out of work, suffering and depression is on the rise,” said Lauryn. “Why in God’s name are we putting another impediment in the way of job seekers?”

A bill in Congress would prohibit the use of credit checks when it comes to making a hiring decision. However, there would be a few exceptions for people applying for a national security positions or jobs where they would handle large amounts of money.

“When someone is having financial difficulties themselves they are much more inclined to take money that does not belong to them,” explained James Ratley of the National Association Of Fraud Examiners.

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Bad credit is becoming more common in this economy and could be caused by issues outside of your control. Those issues could be the death of a spouse, identity theft or even mistakes on your credit report. And if that’s the case people need to be prepared to explain it. “I think people need to know up front that if an employer may look at their credit records and if there’s something in there they’re concerned about they may even want to consider raising that during the interview,” said Ruth Susswein of Consumer Action.

Credit experts say before you start applying for jobs be pro-active by requesting your credit reports and fixing any errors. Keep in mind employers can not see your credit report without your permission. And they get a different kind of report than you do. The employment report includes your credit payment history and other credit habits. It does not include your credit score.

Many credit reports contain errors, by some estimates as many as 70 percent of them could have some form of incorrect information. If you would like to examine your credit report, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. You can use this link to get your FREE copies:

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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