Some people learn they’re victims of criminal identity theft when they are arrested, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. That means innocent people can end up with a false criminal history because someone using their name has been arrested, booked, and fingerprinted. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) offers help for victims of identity crime. When a victim completes a Questioned Identity form, the bureau can confirm whether the person is the subject of the criminal record by comparing photo IDs, relevant documents, and fingerprints. If a claim of identity theft is verified, the state changes its records and issues the victim a letter confirming he or she is not the subject of the criminal record. The letter can be given to police agencies, employers, and landlords.
For $40, anyone can buy a CD of public criminal history data from the bureau, said Julie LeTourneau Lackner, BCA justice information services manager. The criminal information database is updated monthly. Although anyone can go into the bureau to check individual records, private data collectors often buy the CD. These data collectors collect, package, and disseminate public information for a profit. They supply data to companies doing pre-employment screening and to landlords needing background checks. As of July 1, 2009, data collectors, also called business-screening services, will not be able to disseminate criminal record information unless it has been updated within the past month.