Modern technology makes it possible to instantly search billions of public records stored all over the world, which has spawned an entire industry dedicated to screening job applicants for employers. However, when they make a mistake, the consequences can be devastating. Attorney Jeff Hynes says he has seen a steep rise in complaints about mistakes in criminal background checks. “It’s not only a growing problem, but it is a gross injustice,” said Hynes. A common misconception about criminal background checks is that personal identifying information such as a social security number is being used to find information on an individual. Yet, most employers don’t even provide background screening companies with the race or sex of an applicant. Instead they rely on name and date of birth alone, which increases the chance of error. When an error takes place, it’s the applicant who’s left with the burden of proving he or she is not a criminal. Hynes encourages job applicants to do their own criminal background check in advance and suggests telling a potential employer upfront about any potential problems.