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.
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I just informed Wells Fargo Bank that they are losing my business after 28 years with them. A few years ago I finally went to online banking and actually really liked it for convenience and easy access to my account balance. In December they informed me that if I didn't agree to allowing them to sharing my information with their affiliates that would no longer be able to bank online. After calling and arguing to no avail i went to USAA who I hold mutual funds with. They also have online banking, it's free, I can use any ATM without penalty (they refund up to 10.00 per month) and the thing I like best is I can scan my paycheck at my desk to deposit. The banking industry has it backwards. They make you sign a statement buried in numerous advertising papers that come in a statement, to "opt out" of their sharing "YOUR" information, rather than ask you if they can share it. They did not even give me that option for my online banking. My co-worker got the same message from them but relented and agreed. Bye Bye Wells!
What a bunch of crock!
I think this needs to be made illegal right now for all credit bureaus to do and I DO MEAN NOW! I
It should have never been legal at all. I can't believe Congress would allow this to continue, but if they do I think we should vote all them out.
Now they even tell the credit agencies have 20% of credit scores wrong, so I'd say that a big percentage wrong in a system that controls how we get employment, credit, and insurance prices. Does anybody else think this is as wrong as I do?
Everyone worries about Big Brother and Big Government while private enterprise makes money giving away all our private information for profit. We do not have the ability to stop these people and obviously these people make it easier for identity theft.
What a silly circle that has been created. The very people who create our credit ratings help the very people who would destroy our credit ratings to destroy our credit ratings.
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