New York Times Two – Employers and credit scores myth Mayor and city council pat themselves on the back with false information about employers: Credit Score Myth 2

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.

Despite that and eight years of debunking, the mayor of New York said, “Using credit scores in hiring decisions only makes it harder for people facing economic hardship to find a job and restore their personal finances.” #1509N

Bill de Blasio’s preposterous statement is in a September 3, 2015 press release on the official website of the city of New York, New York. It announces a campaign to “educate New Yorkers” on a law regarding credit reports and employment screening.

A city Commission on Human Rights flyer is titled: “YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR CREDIT SCORE. NYC agrees. A new law prohibits most businesses from checking or using your credit history for employment decisions.”

State senator Jeff Klein follows the mayor’s lead, quoted in the press release saying, “A job applicant should be judged on their skills not on their credit score.” #myth2

In April of 2015, before the vote, a press release on the city council’s website stated, “All New Yorkers deserve the chance to compete for a job based on their skills and qualifications, not three digits on a financial report,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

In 2013, councilman Brad Lander led his cause in social media with the cry, “‘one, two, three, four. I am not my credit score!'”

Confronted with the fact that employers do not use credit scores, the politician used a poetic license defense: “Fair point. But sadly, ‘credit report’ or ‘credit history’ (which is what many do use) just don’t rhyme as well.”

The same song-and-dance works for a two-man writing team with members from Harvard University and the Federal Reserve. Their title: “‘No More Credit Score‘ Employer Credit Check Banks[SIC] and Signal Substitution.”

One of the authors replied that “‘score’ is there for the rhyming.”

The Fed publishes such so-called “working paper” documents, designated as such “with the aim of contributing to scholarly debate and soliciting constructive feedback.”

What it does with the feedback is the question.

In April, 2015, a local general-interest newspaper, the New York Times, quoted then-council member Vincent Ignizio saying that his measure would allow citizens to “prove their worth based on their talent, not on past mistakes or a credit score that could be low for many reasons.”

In 2012, the newspaper, itself, exacerbated the myth with an item that said, “The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.”

The article (as with its effect on man) remains false.

Daily slog o’ da blog: What credit score are you talking about?

Da nooz of da day

A wild ride down a rabbit hole in New Jersey, the expert meets the dean of dating disasters and that (you know what).

Jersey (aka the Star-Ledger) publishes a letter from a reader, one “Harry in Basking Ridge,” who says he has a credit score that would be outrageously high on one score’s scale.  He got it by applying for a credit card (an important point).  But, he wants to know, essentially, why certain things “adversely” affect his score, and why the system could see his credit file as negative.

Here’s the thing: In theory, all credit scores are all negative, unless perfect. And, they all come with reasons that the score is not higher. The only other non-negative possibility is Dave Ramsey‘s oft-repeated misinformation piece: No score due to lack of, or insufficient, credit history (just not enough data to go on to even calculate a score).

Reporters will be reporters, so the scribe with the by-line plows right in without getting clarification.  Along for the ride is another willing quotable person as the newspaper reporter gives a wild explanation considering a multitude of fun facts, possibilities and speculations–about FICO scores, another score brand, a home equity line of credit, a personal line of credit, dubious advice about the proportion of balances to credit limits on revolving accounts and even mistaken identity.

Then, it goes off the rails with a comment about “default issues.”

Harry, that’s probably insulting, so a let’s talk.

While we’re waiting for him to make contact, consider a deeper implication of his scenario. Recent credit score disclosures, required by law, leave much to the imagination. One might say “Scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850,” but what credit score it refers to is anybody’s guess.

Some disclosures say, “Your credit score ranks higher than [x] percent of U.S. consumers.”  What the reader’s disclosure said in that regard is a mystery.

But, in a very peculiar case, another publication by the same company touched on the issue without even knowing it. If only

Dating (again)

Out of the disclosure rabbit hole (for now), we bravely head into the Fox hole known as dating. The newspaper named the New York Times made it all the rage this year with a lovely little Christmas day tale, but unfortunately for the Times, the facts (and errors by the Times presented as facts) are unraveling.

Now, Experian (whose hanger-on-to the Queen chairman, himself, is a story) jumps in with its band brand and a survey (catnip for journalists; see LSU, below).

But who wouldn’t want to see the ever-ebullient Dean of Dating, chuckling Chucky-Chuck Woolery, again?! He’s the expert on love, and John Ulzheimer is the expert on credit scores. Take a look, and come back in 2 and 2.

Of all the Chucks, this guy is, well, one of them (because the best still rocks (‘n rolls)).

The takeaway for industry: Conduct a survey and get press, but be careful what you wish for.

The takeaway for citizens–consumers of news/infotainment: Don’t believe a thing that (Experian) says, despite their funny lip-synching, loveable loser band commercials.

Fox in the FOX house

“A poor credit score can haunt you throughout adulthood, affecting your ability  to rent an apartment, finance a car, buy a home or even land your dream job.” – some guy, yesterday, published on a Fox Television Stations website

So, here we are.  After 5 years, we still get a bald-faced and unsupported false statement like that. It is horrible. Notice the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t change regarding a Louisiana State University study on a Rupert Murdoch website, the honorable correction by another party and the myth of the decade, still, on government websites.

LA Times’ uncorrected errors and bad reporting

Here is a trail of woe; a massive mess of misidentification and misinformation by mainstream media muckety-mucks.

Following a complaint about several errors to the managing editor of the Deseret News, the newspaper with the second-highest gain in audience in the country, made one correction.

But the other four errors remain.  One, a syndicated error by the New York Times, appears in another Times story, as well.

Another of the Deseret News errors originated with the Los Angeles Times.  The false American history is even uncorrected on the LA newspaper’s website.  Some guy at da Times named McManus writes, “Who’s the hero? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to allow limits on campaign spending — and potentially put the American Future Fund out of business.”

The Republican party is not the majority party, so Senator McConnell is not Majority Leader.  In fact, he has never been the majority leader.

Linking (unbelieveably) to Wikipedia, Johanna Neuman writes, “’Tackling fraud and abuse is one of the issues that can and should form the basis of a bipartisan, step-by-step approach to healthcare reform,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday, ‘not as a hook to drag this monstrous bill over the finish line.'”

Seriously: Wiki. Flipping. Pedia.

Another doozy, by ace scribe and Letters to the Editor editor Paul Thornton:  “They have vilified the president ever since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to make Barack Obama a one-termer.”

As if the senator has the power to set the agenda.

Rookie Kim Geiger writes, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) excused himself early, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) waved the issue away after reporters trailed him in pursuit of a response.”

In April, LA Times’ keyboard finger-flapper Robin Abcarian led with, “What is wrong with the New York Post?”

Abcarian has a problem with attribution.  The LA Times and the New York Times have a problem with the Associated Press (and math).

What is “wrong” with the Los Angeles Times?

False information on government website

The efficacy of a social media message

Lena Taylor
Senator (D-Milwaukee), Wisconsin legislature

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.

However, you wrote, “Approximately 40% of employers check credit scores when making hiring decisions.”

So, your information is false.  Who provided that statistic?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Wisconsin Capitol
Wisconsin Capitol
Wisconsin Capitol (aerial view)
Wisconsin Capitol (aerial view)

Credit scores in popular culture, Identity Thief

The efficacy of a social media message

Craig Mazin, story, screenplay
Identity Thief
Sumner Redstone
CBS, National Amusements

Recently, in Philadelphia, CBS broadcast a report that stated, inaccurately, that employers use credit scores.  After I contacted CBS, the inaccurate information on the broadcaster’s website disappeared, with no acknowledgement of the error on the story’s website page.  The video is gone, too, but has found new life on  The same day the CBS report appeared, an oddly similar story appeared in Providence on a Lin Television station.

The CBS report stated: “Whether you’re hoping to buy a new home, a new car or even find a new job, you’d better be sure that your credit score is in good shape,” and “Whether you like it or not, your credit score says a lot about you.  Companies use credit scores for everything from deciding how big a deposit to require for a cell phone contract to whether or not to hire you.  It’s based on the concept that how you’ve handled credit in the past indicates how reliable of a borrower—or employee, for that matter—you’ll be in the future.   The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is offering… ”

The Lin report stated, “Whether you’re hoping to buy a new home, a new car or even find a new job, you’d better be sure your credit score is in good shape,” “Whether you like it or not, your credit score says a lot about you.  Companies use it for everything from deciding how big a deposit to require for a cell phone contract to whether or not to hire you.  It’s based on the concept that how you’ve handled credit in the past indicates how reliable of a borrower—or employee, for that matter—you’ll be in the future.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is offering… ”

In 2012, a bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature that stated

Section 5.4. Credit Report Requirement.—

(a) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer or any employer’s agent, representative or designee to require an employe[SIC] or prospective employe[SIC] to consent to the creation of a credit report that contains information about the employe’s[SIC] or prospective employe’s[SIC] credit score, credit account balances, payment history, savings or checking account balances or savings or checking account numbers as a condition of employment unless one of the following applies:

(1) Such report is substantially related to the employe’s[SIC] current or potential job.
(2) Such report is required by law.
(3) The position is with the Office of Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police or other law enforcement agency.

(b) For the purposes of this section, “substantially related to the employe’s[SIC] current or potential job” means the information contained in the credit report is related to the position for which the employe[SIC] or prospective employe[SIC] who is the subject of the report is being evaluated because the position:

(1) is a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of the business;
(2) involves access to customers’, employes'[SIC] or the employer’s personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction;
(3) involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including, but not limited to, the authority to issue payments, transfer money or enter into contracts;
(4) requires access to confidential or proprietary information that derives value from secrecy and efforts are made to keep it secret; or
(5) involves regular access to cash totaling $10,000 or more during the work day.

So, while the consumer reporting agencies do not even provide scores for employment purposes (and they stated so five years ago), that proposal would have actually made it legal, expressly, in some instances, to do so.

In Connecticut, a bill became law with inaccurate testimony, so the myth has serious consequences.  Life imitated art after the release of your motion picture:  Colorado—the home of the protagonist in the movie—passed a similar measure.

Mr. Mazin, for the screenplay of the movie “Identity Thief,” who came up with the idea that an employer can obtain a citizen’s credit score?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
Page A2
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

UPDATE 5/22/13

  1. Step One: Social media message (above)(fail)
  2. Step Two: Email (below)(to Hollywood!)

From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 4:02 PM
To: Craig Mazin, story, screenplay, Identity Thief
Subject: credit scores in popular culture, Identity Thief

Please respond to the social media message addressed to you dated May 10.


By the way, did you notice the boom microphone at the top of the frame in the scene in Diana’s house?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

History lesson: Senate Majority Leader

Testing the efficacy of a social media message

WARNING: You won’t find this in The Fountainhead or the copy of the U.S. Constitution that you carry around in your pocket.

Another one of Rupert Murdoch’s silly websites is factually inaccurate again.

Greta Van Susteren (in her headline, no less) blares, “Look who is going to Capitol Hill — on an invitation from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell!!”

!! (!)

Van Susteren has not replied.

As a voting citizen, you were involved in compiling a “Complete List of Majority and Minority Leaders (in fact that is exactly what it is called, and it is on your website).  You see?  He’s on the right (the losing side).

That is all elementary, but here is the big questionWho wrote the headline, “Caught between a job and your credit score“?

Hey kids! One positive outcome of this ridiculousness, is identifying, perhaps, what very-well could be the perfect responsive web design page! Watch what happens when you squish your browser window (which is, apparently, the ultimate test of this fabulous, fundamental new standard)! Try it!


In planning another whistle stop trip, the train to Lincoln (California Zephyr) seems feasible.  But terminating in the capital and bypassing Nebraska’s nearby major city means foregoing another opportunity to experience what appears to be a majestic large public space in Omaha, the Union Passenger Terminal Great Hall.

photograph, Union Passenger Terminal, Omaha
Union Passenger Terminal, Omaha

The manager of the Lincoln Marriott, however, makes staying in the capital city, at least, a comfortable choice (assuming the senator does not reply).

Getting to North Platte?  That’s another story.

From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:09 PM
To: Annette Dubas, state senator, Nebraska
Subject: credit score, employers, Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

A report quotes you saying, “The use of a credit score in job applications has an especially negative impact on women, the disabled, and certain populations such as Hispanic and African Americans because their scores tend to be lower.”

Employers do not use credit scores.

What will you do to correct the record?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Nebraska State Capitol building
Nebraska State Capitol

Prediction: USA Today publisher Gannett will make a correction

USA Today publisher Gannett will make a correction to its latest story about credit scores.  You can believe that prediction because it isn’t easy to get around fundamental numbers.

USA Today claims that the VantageScore credit score scale is 501 to 999 when it is actually 501-990.

But, McPaper is in good company. Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives, VantageScore chief Barrett Burns committed the same error twice, according to the official record.  VantageScore’s account of history is peculiarly different.

Further, Gannett will make a correction because the company has never come to terms with its inaccurate story about employers and credit scores.  The newspaper’s response was to use the pathetic and annoying “Read the story again” strategy.  Its editorial department (fine people, all) is, thankfully, cooperative and much wiser.  Happy Groundhog Day, by the way.

The numbers journalists use to add credibility to their stories are the same ones that can come back to bite them.

Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism

In Florida, the state legislature session is underway, and members are discussing the use of credit reports in employment.  Senator Nancy Detert is the introducer of Senate Bill 100, which was given 8 yeas and no nays this week.  The myth continues as the senator and media unknowingly push it.
Florida Poly

From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:07 PM
To: Regan McCarthy, senior producer/assignment editor, WFSU-FM/ Florida Public Radio
Cc: Nancy C. Detert, chair, Committee on Commerce and Tourism, Florida Senate
Subject: Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism

See this message and your response at

You wrote: “‘ As we turn the corner on the economy and try to get people back to work, one of the stumbling blocks is that we have employers pulling credit reports and not hiring you because you have a bad credit score. And I think that’s frankly, kind of dirty pool, unless you’re dealing with money or trade secrets or a whole list of exceptions,’ Detert said.”

Employers do not use credit scores.

What is your clarification policy?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Florida SB 100, 2013

From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:35 PM
To: Jim Turner, reporter, Sunshine State News
Subject: credit score, employers, Florida, SB 100

See this message and your response at

The Connecticut legislature was misinformed by its witnesses.  Employers do not use credit scores.

However, you wrote, “Proponents see the effort as a means to eliminate a Catch 22: You can’t improve your credit score because you don’t have a job, yet you can’t get a job because of your bad credit score.”

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342