Your employer may share your salary, and Equifax might sell that data. "The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled what may be the most powerful and thorough private database of Americans’ personal information ever created, containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults. Some of the information in the little-known database, created through an Equifax-owned company called The Work Number, is sold to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities."
"Chris Jupin never thought he'd create a firestorm when he wrote on his personal blog in September about a bogus $4.95 charge that appeared on his debit card. But traffic to his blog increased sharply, and hundreds of Web users chimed in saying, 'me too.' About half of them had something in common: They had recently purchased credit services from credit bureau Equifax." The charges -- mostly single ones for $10 or less -- are for "e-books" or other "online downloads." The Equifax connection -- coincidental and casual? Comments in response to yesterday's MSNBC "Red Tape Chronicle" post offer up experiences of others in the same boat.
In the last few years, Fair Isaacs, along with the FTC have made considerable effort in educating us in how our credit scores are derived. But is the whole system about to change? In a somewhat quiet AP story, the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, announced they had agreed on a new common formula for generating your credit scores: VantageScore. [more inside]
Big Brother Really Exists, And He's Not Who You Think He Is. While most of those in the privacy realm have been focusing on keeping the government from spying on its citizens, the government has made an end-run: Letting the private sector do it for them. ChoicePoint, an Atlanta-based spinoff from credit agency Equifax, now has more than 200 terrabytes of data on us, and as previously noted, they're not always very good at it. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The FBI uses Equifax subsidiary ChoicePoint to gather dossiers on, well, everybody. No surprise, but many people know how inaccurate these reports can be (see the link). Now they're being used by the FBI? The scene in Brazil where the guy gets SWAT-rushed in his house because of a spelling error comes to mind.