Equifax just sold off your privacy
The credit reporting agency makes individual information available to debt collectors, and it's all perfectly legal.
Like many of the jaded members of online society, the credit reporting agency seems to have resigned itself to the idea that no electronic information is 100% private. That's not such a great conclusion to reach when you're sitting on a database containing the salaries, employment records, lending histories and spending habits of nearly a third of American adults.
That information all may have been considered private in simpler times, but NBC News found that Equifax sold chunks of it to debt collectors and other financial service companies.
According to NBC's report, Equifax takes such information from U.S. businesses and ships it off to a subsidiary called The Work Number. That group then verifies employment and income data for lenders and other job screeners. Everything would be nice and private if the trail ended there, but Equifax then sells some of that compiled data to debt collectors, who then get access to individual information that employers could ordinarily deny.
Demitra Wilson, a spokesperson for Equifax, told The Huffington Post that debt collectors are free to request employment data from The Work Number at any time. That's a lot of information, but it's all legal thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which originally passed in 1970 but has been amended several times since to conform with the Patriot Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other legislation.
Equifax and its fellow credit agencies Experian and TransUnion have drawn increased scrutiny within the last year after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began looking over their shoulders and questioning the accuracy of their reports. Back in September, Reuters reported that the consumer watchdog agency was showing about 20% of Americans a different credit score than they were showing potential lenders.
This leaves consumers with two options: Don't amass debt or take it up with Congress, which can then unleash the CFPB. While Americans have had a notoriously tough time with the former, their sub-16% job-approval rating for Congress might inspire some reluctant austerity.
More on moneyNOW
If you work for a medium/large size employer, chances are good that your employment data, including dates of service and salary, either has been or will soon be, provided to Equifax's The Work Number subsidiary. The reason: The Human Resources Dept. at these companies do not want to deal with employment verification calls, be it from new potential employers or the bank or finance company you are trying to get a car loan from. So they have found that simply turning your data over to Equifax is an easy way out of providing the info themselves.
Personally I feel it is an invasion of privacy, esp. the salary data. Nearly anyone, if they really want to find out how much you make, can do so if the info is in this database.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.
Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More
More Market News
Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'