Duke tells students to revise history

[previous message]

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
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342
937-681-3224

Open letter to Murdoch: 5-year credit score nightmare

Further investigation into the efficacy of a social media message

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 7:37 AM
To: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson)
Cc: Andrew Housser, co-founder & CEO, Bills.com; Michael Lewis, VP/general manager, KTBC FOX 7, Austin, News Corporation; Danielle Douglas, reporter, Washington Post
Subject: credit score, employers, KTBC-TV, Austin, Fox Television Stations, Inc., News Corporation

An open letter to Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
News Corporation

Dear Mr. Murdoch:

You published, “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.”

This thing is not a dream; it is a 5-year nightmare.  As I already told you, employers do not use credit scores.  The myth [is] now out of control and has begun having serious consequences.  Send a memo about this to all points of your empire, now.

Please, make it stop.  I’ll talk to you through social media.

Are these messages about the truth getting through to you?  Haven’t you even noticed the big stink?  Are you there, sir?


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

Encounter with billionaire about credit score myth

[PREVIOUS EMAIL]

From: Gilbert, Dan
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2013 10:53 AM
To: Quilty, David; Albery, Todd
Cc: ‘greg@creditscoring.com’
Subject: Fw: Your horrible, recurring errors

Todd and David,

I truly cannot follow this guy’s point below.

Maybe it got lost through all of the bitterness and anger in his email, but as always, I know you guys will try to get to the bottom of it and understand the feedback to determine if there is a change that needs to take place.

Please keep me posted.

Thank you.
Dan G.

[by “below,” Gilbert refers to previous email]

 

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2013 12:17 PM
To: Dan Gilbert, Fathead
Subject: RE: Your horrible, recurring errors, follow

Employers do not use credit scores, but your website said (before the error disappeared (“score” is even gone from its headline)), again, that they do.

What don’t you understand about that?


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

 

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, August 02, 2013 1:02 PM
To: Todd Albery, Leader of the Webolution, Quizzle LLC
Cc: Dan Gilbert, Fathead; David Quilty, senior editor, Quizzle LLC
Subject: RE: Your horrible, recurring errors, follow II

Hello, Skippy.

Your error disappeared!  Apparently, lax control is the way to become a billionaire.

I’m still waiting for your boss to reply.  In the meantime, take a look at this.  quickenloans.com states, “Don’t forget: Many employers also check credit scores, especially when you’re in the hiring process.”

Wrong.

Also, some guy wrote (and, Mr. Gilbert left on his website for three years), “If you recognize that maintaining a good credit score is a necessary evil in today’s society because insurers, employers and lenders check scores when making offers, you might consider damage to your credit score a negative consequence of walking away from a mortgage.”

Wrong again.

On that guy’s website, you find the reliability meme, as in: “You can complain about this all that you want, but your whining won’t stop from potential employers from checking out your credit score. The justification that I heard is that an employer will want to see if you’re reliable.”

That was “posted” (as the mommy bloggers say) by yet another guy who tells young people, “Your future employers WILL look at your credit score.”

Elsewhere, that guy gushes: “If you want to build your [CENSORED] for ‘credit score’ or ‘debt management’ than[SIC] just say so! Ask me for my advertising rates and I’m sure that we could work something out.”

Yikes.


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

Senate Majority Leader; credit scores

This is an allegory to The McConnell Bind, a method to force corrections of big-media articles containing errors of fact about credit scores.

The corollary, Senate Majority Leader, starts here, and ties inaccurate credit score articles to screw-ups about U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) position in the legislature. Ignoring one is irresponsible.  Ignoring the other is downright un-American.

Here goes.

A Washington Post Writer’s Group piece, released in syndication, states, inaccurately, “Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid predicted at a news conference in Las Vegas that ‘immigration is going to pass the House of Representatives’ and insisted that ‘if [the GOP] were smart, they would take [the Senate] bill’ and start from there.”

But, it is elementary: Senator Reid is the majority (not minority) leader.

The tie-in:  In 2009, the Washington Post published this needlessly scary thought: “And a lower credit score means you pay more for the money you borrow. It can also mean higher insurance rates for your home or car, or worse, the loss of a job.”

Of course, employers do not use credit scores, so relax (and don’t believe da Post’s other scribblings, either).

The first attempt at contact (in this round), regarding this matter of American history, was social media.  That having failed, email is next, and then, if that doesn’t work, the postcard!

David Brooks’ political fantasy spreads to Utah

[PREVIOUS MESSAGES]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 9:47 PM
To: Thomas S. Monson, president, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (via L. Kirkland); Henry B. Eyring, first counselor, First Presidency, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor, First Presidency, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Christopher M. Lee, EVP and publisher, DeseretNews.com, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Chris Higbee, general manager, DeseretNews.com, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ; Rick Hall, managing editor, Deseret News, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Lois M. Collins, reporter and columnist, Deseret News, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Clark Gilbert, president and CEO, Deseret News Publishing Company and Deseret Digital Media, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Mary McConnell, member, Editorial Advisory Board, Deseret News, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Cc: Blaze Bullock, business reporter, Deseret News, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Sharon S. Cook, senior VP, Marketing & Public Relations, Mountain America Credit Union
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints III

Dated today, another item on one of your websites states, “Your score can also be reviewed by insurance companies, landlords, and even employers.”

What is your correction policy?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 4:13 PM
To: Rick Hall, managing editor, Deseret News, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints IV

Please take this as seriously as its grave implication.

You are out of control, but no more than your industry in general (not that that should console you or make you feel that you can remain complacent).  On 4 separate dates, you published items that called Mitch McConnell the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.  He is not, and has never been.  Correct those preposterous errors today.

On July 15, 2012, you published: “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.”

On July 1, 2012, you published, “’We’ve got one last chance here to beat Obamacare, and we can do that in the November election,’ said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling the law the ‘single worst piece of legislation’ passed in modern times.”

On January 24, 2011, you reported

Late last week the Tampa Tribune laid out how Rubio is being courted by two different GOP groups within the U.S. Senate: the Tea Party and a more moderate faction led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken.

(Rubio) was one of four freshman senators chosen by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to go on a trip last week to Afghanistan and Pakistan, a coveted travel slot that helps boost the profile of a new senator.

And, on October 5, 2011, you republished, “If Romney were to be elected, he would probably share power with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and the House speaker, John Boehner.”

That item—one that you mindlessly regurgitated—was written by an employee of the New York Times, an organization with the same problems with the truth.

Lest we all think that you are stupid as well as incompetent, correct your revisionist American history today.

And, if you’re going to write about credit scores again, read Credit score tips, information and guidelines for journalists/reporters.  Had you done so, you might have avoided this message and its permanency.  I conceived creditscoring.com, the Credit Scoring Site, 15 years ago to inform journalists and legislators, but that was, apparently, for naught.  Today, you report, “The secret numbers are the credit scores used by banks, landlords and employers to determine how much they can trust you to pay back home and car loans, pay rent on time and how responsible you are.”

I had to start another project, Page A2 – Media accuracy, errors and corrections, because your industry cannot get its act together.  Journalism is so out-to-lunch and conniving about its biggest problem, I had no competition when registering that domain.

Who is your source regarding credit scores and/or credit reports and employers?  Or, did you just make it up?

Previously, you stated: “A person’s FICO credit score (the name derives from the software that calculates it, produced by Fair Isaac Company) impacts the cost of financial services, interest rates, auto insurance and more. Prospective employers may look at it.”  Then, after I alerted you to that screw-up a year ago, you changed your story, pretending that your error never existed.  Why didn’t you put the correction on the original page where it might, actually, do some good—and to stand as an example, a caution to your cub reporters to get the story straight?

Although cowardly done, at least you changed it.  But, what you will do for a story whose entire premise is false (indeed, including the headline) will be amusing.  You duped at least one reader, who said: “Excellent article! And I agree with the hot sauce analogy–right on!”

What is your correction policy?  Reply directly to this message with the answer to that question today.

I get the whole first-rough-draft-of-history excuse for sloppy journalism, but your credit score feature story of yesterday is not news.  If you’re going to engage in that kind of writing, then change the name of your publication; perhaps the news search engines won’t give it so much prominence in misinforming the electorate.  This goofy myth of yours has serious consequences.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

The McConnell Bind

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 2:38 PM
To: Greg Brock, senior editor, Standards, New York Times
Subject: Error: American history, credit scores

Thank you for replying.  See today’s message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=5142 (“The McConnell Bind”).

Recently, I have been looking into media accuracy, errors and corrections and their consequences.  Here are two more errors that exist on your website.

In “Obama Presses Israel to Make ‘Hard Choices,’” dated May 23, 2011, you published, “’The U.S. ought not to be trying to push Israel into a deal that’s not good for Israel,’ the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’”

And, in “Framing the Debate” (February 25, 2010), you state, “Republicans, including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and the House leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, have called on Mr. Obama to discard the plan unveiled on Monday, as well as the bills adopted by the House and Senate late last year, and to start over.”

Of course, Mitch McConnell is not (and has never been) Senate Majority Leader.  Will you make a correction today?

Having received no response about an issue I raised—after your publisher’s office acknowledged my message over two months ago—I am binding your American history errors to those about employers and credit scores and credit score statistical distribution.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

What lies beneath

A further test of the efficacy of a social media message

Our house is on fire.” – Scott Pelly, anchor and managing editor, CBS Evening News

Sumner Redstone
KYW-TV, FCC License File Number: BLCDT-20090326ABH
CBS Broadcasting Inc.
National Amusements
Norwood, Massachusetts

You continue to misinform citizens, and I am not going to tolerate it.  Stop it today.

Beneath your website page, in the HTML (hypertext markup language) source code, you state:

<metaproperty=”og:description”content=”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, it’s being used in more ways than you might think. “/>

So, when you replied, linking your social media message to that page, the unintended consequence was that you kept reporting false information.  The portion of your website that appears in the message summary is the (factually inaccurate) HTML metadata description above.

In your video report (in which the syndicated error and zombie myth lives on), your anchor said, “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.”

Employers do not use credit scores, and you should know it.  If you don’t know it, then you are out of control.

Who wrote the word job in that sentence?  I asked your reporter, “.@jimdonovancbs3 @CBSPhilly, who told you that?” and he did not answer the question. The same report in Rhode Island is no coincidence.  The error has serious consequences for Pennsylvanians.

pennsylvania-rotunda
Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda

And, what is this business about 30 percent?  Who said that that is “ideally” the right number to be under?

I didn’t write the book about credit scores; I wrote the website.


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

PS No phone calls.

New America Foundation

The efficacy of a social media message

Hannah Emple, policy analyst, Asset Building Program
New America Foundation

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=5089.

Among other mentions of credit scores on the same page, you wrote, “So if credit scores are error-prone and not a great measure of employability, what ARE they really showing?”

While that does not say, specifically, that employers use credit scores, previously, making your misunderstanding clear, you wrote, “Landlords, employers, utility providers, and others are using credit scores to make determinations about who is permitted to rent a home or who is hired.”

You also link to the New York Times May 11 story, “The Long Shadow of Bad Credit in a Job Search.”  In other recent items, the Times has it wrong, too.

Employers do not use credit scores.  But, if you have evidence (you would be the first), please substantiate your claim with it.  You’re not the first to make that error, and I predict that you won’t be the last.  Unfortunately, the myth is so deep and broad that it is now affecting laws.

How do you correct errors of fact that you have presented?


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

Belief

[PREVIOUS MESSAGE]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 10:01 AM
To: Rick Levinson, blogger, Ventured&Gained, Bloomberg News
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, belief

Now, your report says, “And employers are using your credit report (which contains a lot of the information used in generating the scores, according to myFico.com) in hiring decisions.”

You are not going to believe this.  Actually (according to myFICO), FICO scores do not consider “Any information not found in your credit report.”  So, where else do you believe the information comes from?

The article is titled, “What’s in a Credit Score? Few Know.” You are not one of the few.

And, you did not answer my questions.  Do so today.


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

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 yahoo.com.  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
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
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 [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
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.

See https://twitter.com/creditscoring/status/332938037015216128.

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
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342