Duke tells students to revise history

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From: Greg Fisher (greg@creditscoring.com)
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 11:39 AM
To: Richard H. Brodhead, president, Duke University
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, myth, falsity, truth, efficacy of a social media message, ivory tower II, falsity

I do not see a reply to my email from you, and I am troubled that I have not noticed any that you might have made. But, the change that you made to your previously false document (if that is your response (and if it is not, then it is the greatest coincidence in history)) gives me, at least, a glimmer of hope for the future of the planet.

However, something else—something fundamental—troubles me even more. You state: “You can always ask a credit card company or other creditor to have negative information removed from your account.  They want to keep their customers happy, so they will commonly oblige your request if you have regularly made your payments on time and just made a few errors.”

That is in your document—available worldwide—titled, “How can I improve my credit score?” and is the biggest crock of nonsense that I have ever heard. But I have heard it before and did what I could to stop it. After publicly following consumer reporting for 15 years, I have heard it all.

The law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, states

The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting. Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system.

It is no wonder the students and young alumni of Duke have an advantage: They have the power to change history.

I used the microcosm of the myth that employers use credit scores to determine the integrity of mainstream media. In that exercise of herding cats, I found that, largely, media organizations are passive-aggressive: They ignore their problem with accuracy, errors and corrections, and me. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lives. The New York Times (the metaphor as well as the actual organization) needs no formal license to exist, publishes falsity (even about American history) and answers to no one. Now that that exhaustive (and exhausting) 5-year study of mine is over, as I crawl out of that rabbit hole of ridiculousness and into the light on the surface, I find ridiculousness ten-fold and growing.

But institutions of higher learning are not cats. They are (to use a fourth metaphor) a different animal, and, in some cases—as with public institutions, for instance—do, indeed, answer to higher authority. Although that appears not to be the case with you, your affiliation with a religious organization indicates a relationship to a higher moral authority, at least.

To whom Experian and its leaders ultimately answer in regard to misinformation, today, is confusing to me: Is it the Federal Trade Commission or Elizabeth Warren’s notion, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (who likes to call itself the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

And so, since I have not seen a reply from you, I will now berate you with a prediction: You will change your website regarding that bunk about begging a creditor to create a history that never was, and, indeed, sir, suggesting that banks commonly lie to credit bureaus. It is heresy. Your outrageous suggestion impairs the efficiency of the banking system and undermines public confidence.

Have some dignity.

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

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).


nj.com (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 freecreditscore.com 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 freecreditscore.com (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.

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)

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!

State of New York

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State

You state, “For Sandy Victims, Blemishes on Credit Score Can Mean Higher Costs for Home, Auto, and Business Loans, Greater Difficulty Finding Employment.”

Employers do not use credit scores.  See Item 1.

Make a retraction.

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

[UPDATE 5/6/13: There is a link, dated 4/27, to this page from https://twitter.com/creditscoring/status/328182948165734401.]


Here is a list of steps to attempt to get the attention of people who misinform citizens.

1. Email
2. Social media message
3. Postcard
4. Letter
5. Certified letter, return reciept requested
6. Visit, in-person, whistle stop

Further steps (if necessary) might include cash, merciless berating and singing telegrams.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:50 PM
To: José Quiñonez, executive director, Mission Asset Fund, and chairperson, Consumer Advisory Board, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: The right thing

You wrote: “Experian, a major credit reporting agencies[SIC], estimates that 66 million Americans are unscoreable[SIC]—they do not have enough credit history to generate a credit score. And without a credit score, they can’t get loans to buy cars, start businesses, get mortgages, rent apartments, or even get jobs.”

However, Experian also states, “Employers never get a credit score.”

So, where did you get the idea that employers use credit scores?

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

CFPB on checking your credit score at least once a year

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:03 AM
To: Michelle Person, spokesperson, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cc: Richard Cordray, director, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (via press office); Mallory McLean, press assistant, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Moira Vahey, spokesperson, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: RE: Who changed the name of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?, checking your credit score

One of your “STEPS TO GET AND KEEP A GOOD CREDIT SCORE” is “GET YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORT EVERY YEAR.”  In it, you state, “Tip: You don’t have to buy your credit score. The information you receive from the agencies is adequate.”

However, the document title of another of your public documents is,“Consumer Advisory: Check your credit score at least once a year.”  You can find that title in the properties of the document by opening it and using Ctrl+D, by performing a right click and choosing Document Properties, or by using File then Properties in the menu of a PDF reader.

Even the internet address of the document (http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_consumer-advisory_check-your-credit-score-every-year.pdf) contains the same message.  But the word score does not even exist in the document content itself.  Despite the file name, document title and internet web address, if you perform a word search for “scor” within the document that is displayed, there are no matches.

On July 16, somebody in your organization wrote, “Read our consumer advisory on checking your credit score at least once a year.”  That message is signed “CFPB Web Team.”  What is the name of the person who is the head of that team?

If your advice is to check our credit scores once a year, then which one should we check?  And, how much does it cost citizens to do so?

And, answer last month’s questions today.  You are falling behind.

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


Who renamed the BCFP the CFPB? II

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:03 PM
To: Moira Vahey, spokesperson, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cc: Richard Cordray, director, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (via press office); Mallory McLean, press assistant, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: RE: Who changed the name of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?, utilization ratio advice

Your website states, “Experts advise keeping your use of credit at no more than 30% or less of your total credit limit.”

You must be citing alleged-credit score experts from the credit card industry.  What experts gave that advice to get and keep a good credit score?  Name at least two.

Here is mine:

  • Fair Isaac, the FICO score company, states, “The more you owe compared to your credit limit, the lower your score will be.”
  • A person who pitches scores for Fair Isaac on its website stated, “The FICO brain trust says there is no specific number that qualifies as a ‘good’ ratio, just that lower is always better.”
  • In describing traits of those who Fair Isaac deems “High Achievers,” the company claims that those people use “an average of 7% of their available revolving credit.”



And, please answer Monday’s question.  I’m with the media, and I’m on deadline!  The law says that you are to be known as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and you are doing everything you can to be known as something else.

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


Who renamed the BCFP the CFPB?

Hold up your mirror to the beam of light

CFPB flashlight logowww.bcfp.gov leads to the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, the agency’s name starts with C, not B.

Or does it?

A clue to this mystery could be this: A whois record indicates an IP location of Cambridge, Massachusetts even though the CFPB is a U.S. federal regulator located in Washington, D.C.

What in the world is going on here, citizen?

See “Who changed the name of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?” at creditscoring.com, The Credit Scoring Site.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 3:01 PM
To: Mallory McLean, press assistant, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cc: Richard Cordray, director, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (via press office)
Subject: Who changed the name of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

Who changed the name of our bureau and when did they change it?


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


The President: Credit score can affect chances of getting job

In his weekly address, President Obama talked about submitting complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  In that address, he said:

If you haven’t checked out your credit score recently, you should.  It can have a major impact on your life.  It can determine whether or not you qualify for a loan or what kind of interest you have to pay.  It can even affect your chances at renting an apartment or getting a job.

However, the CFPB’s website states, “The nationwide credit reporting companies say they do not currently provide credit scores for employment purposes.”