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

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

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

Happy Birthday, Sandy Patterson

Today, May 18, is the birthday of the character Sandy Bigelow Patterson (played by Jason Bateman) in the motion picture “Identity Thief.”

With a play on words, the production notes say, “With everything to lose after his identity is stolen, he’ll find out how crazed you can get trying to settle a bad credit score.”

Indeed, on an already very bad day for Sandy, his boss at his new job adds to his troubles, saying to him: “Your credit score is 240.  A 240!  There are homeless people with better numbers than that.”

However, in the real world, employers cannot get credit scores.

The screenplay was written by Craig Mazin, who has not replied to a social media message.

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

Bloomberg News personal finance blog Ventured&Gained

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:02 PM
To: Rick Levinson, blogger, Ventured&Gained, Bloomberg News
Cc: Meghan Womack, press contact, Bloomberg News
Subject: credit score, employers, edit it

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=5070.

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.  However, this week, in the ironically titled “What’s in a Credit Score? Few Know.,” you wrote, “And increasingly, employers are using the scores in hiring decisions.”

I solved that part of the puzzle 5 years ago.  Where have you been?  You also said, “Pretty scary when you consider that these scores help determine whether you’ll get a credit card what[SIC] you’ll pay for it.”

Use complete sentences.

In that publicity piece for VantageScore, you mocked citizens:  “There was one bright spot, however: Apparently folks have gotten the message that making loan payments on time helps raise your credit score. Ninety-four percent of quiz takers got that right.”

It’s no wonder we’re so misinformed.  In this case, since you have such broad influence, I’m ready to listen as you provide your source (or, what you thought was your source) for the mere notion that employers use credit scores, at all.  But it is the “increasingly” part that I’m most interested in.  Who did you get that little gem from?

Or did you just make it up?  I haven’t run across any reports of a New York Noodle Nook 900 credit score requirement to get a job there.  Have you?

The same misinformation that you just published (and its inevitable syndicated error) has serious, real, actual consequences for democracy.  So, stop clucking your tongue at we stupid Americans and respond.  Do so today.  And, make sure that you do not make seem like your error never happened.  What is your correction policy?

Employers do not use credit scores, and media have created a big mess.  You want a scoop?  There’s your big scoop.


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

[NEXT MESSAGE]

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

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!

Blended credit score name game

Equifax Experts (aka “I”)
EFX Moderator, EM
Diane Moogalian, vice president of operations, Equifax Personal Solutions
Richard F. Smith, chairman and CEO
Equifax
Atlanta, Georgia

Equifax Experts, you wrote

I usually get questions about differences in credit scores when a consumer is checking his or her credit report to make a big purchase—like a car—or to apply for a mortgage.

There are different credit score models available to lenders. Some use industry-weighted scores, and others use blended scores from all three CRAs. The lender determines which score model it prefers.

EFX Moderator, EM, you wrote

There are different credit score models available to lenders for things like mortgages and car loans. The lender determines if it prefers an industry-weighted score or a blended score from all three credit reporting agencies.

What is the name of a person or organization who provides “blended scores from all three CRAs”?  What are the names of those scores (in your expert opinion)?

What are your names?

Drop everything and answer those questions today.


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

[SEE https://www.facebook.com/Equifax#!/Equifax/posts/10150977741444015?comment_id=26550986&offset=0&total_comments=1]

Accuracy, transparency and integrity

[ORIGINAL MESSAGE TO AUTHOR, PUBLISHED January 12, 2013]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2013 11:44 AM
To: Manisha Thakor
Subject: Adams Media, F+W Media

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=4523.

In your book “On My Own Two Feet” (2007), you wrote, “Increasingly, prospective employers are also looking at this three-digit number, under the assumption that people who are financially responsible make better employees.”

What indicates that, increasingly, employers use credit scores?


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


From: Greg Fisher
Date: January 16, 2013 12:23:37 AM EST
To: Manisha Thakor, Sharon Kedar
Cc: David Nussbaum, chairman and CEO, F+W Media, Inc. (via S. Berger)
Subject: RE: Adams Media, F+W Media II
Reply-To: <greg@creditscoring.com>

Please reply.


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


From: Gissinger, Beth
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 10:34 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: FW: Adams Media, F+W Media II

Hi Greg – I’m sorry you haven’t yet received a reply from Manisha or Sharon. I have reached out to them separately and have directed them to your message. I would expect you will hear from them soon.  Please let me know if you do not.
Best,
Beth
************************************************************
Beth Gissinger
Digital Marketing Director, Adams Media / F+W Media
[phone]
[email]
@bgiss
www.adamsmedia.com


From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:14 AM
To: Gissinger, Beth Cc: Manisha Thakor; Sharon Kedar
Subject: RE: Adams Media, F+W Media II

Thank you.

What is your policy regarding errors of fact in your books?


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


From: Gissinger, Beth
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:24 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Manisha Thakor; Sharon Kedar
Subject: RE: Adams Media, F+W Media II

Hi Greg – The authors would work with their editor and the material would be corrected in the next printing of the book.

Thank you


From: Manisha Thakor
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:07 PM
To: Gissinger, Beth
Cc: greg@creditscoring.com; Sharon Kedar
Subject: Re: Adams Media, F+W Media II

Greg,

Actually, the statement is not inaccurate as of the time the book was written. As you rightly noted this book came out in 2007, and therefore was written in 2006. At that time there clearly was an “increasing” tendency of employers to incorporate the use of credit scores in to the hiring decision making process.

Subsequent to the 2007 version of this book’s release, there has been a wide range of legislation that has come up to block this practice.  Clearly the need for such legislation is proof positive that is was a an increasingly popular practice at the time the book was written.  And as you can see in a careful reading of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that while the practice has been dramatically curtailed there are still some limited instances where it is permitted.

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf
SHORT SUMMARY OF CURRENT PRACTICES: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/running-credit-checks-applicants-35457.html
EXAMPLES OF LEGISLATION INTRODUCED AFTER OUR BOOK WAS WRITTEN: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/banking/use-of-credit-info-in-employ-2012-legis.aspx

Individuals reading this (or any nonfiction book) should note it’s publication date to have context for the content.  Clearly if either one of us were to write a new book (or if sales of this old book justified a reprint of an updated 2013 version) the statement in 2013 would exclude the word “increasingly” and be something to the effect of alerting individuals that striving to maintain a good credit score is good financial hygiene as there “may be” instances where an employer requests their permission to check their credit score as part of a job application.

I reviewed your website and could not find anything at all about your professional background or qualifications.  Could you please let us all know a bit more about who you are and what your organization is trying to achieve in reaching out to us in this very terse and insistent manner about a clearly denoted 2007 book that at present has no plans to be re-released in an “updated and revised 2013” version?

All of us, both publisher & authors, are committed to accuracy, transparency, and integrity in our work and would respectfully request the same from anyone reaching out to us.

Manisha


From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:07 AM
To: Manisha Thakor, financial expert
Subject: RE: Adams Media, F+W Media II, credentials, credence

Ms. Thakor:

I don’t know the Ivy League qualifications to send email, but I know the truth.  There is no need for legislation to stop the use of credit scores in employment because it is a practice (increasing, decreasing or otherwise) that does not exist—except in imaginations.

I am in no organization.  I am a citizen—a person who the consumer reporting agencies subject to the FCRA have compiled and maintain files on—and since 1998, the author of creditscoring.com.  In 1989, someone mentioned a “Beacon” FICO credit score of one of my files.  In the early 1990s, I saw a FICO score for the first time.  In 1997, I asked the consumer reporting agencies for their credit scores of their files on me.  In 2001, 2002 and 2003, they began providing them.

This year is an important 5-year mark because in 2008, I asked the CRAs if they provide credit scores to employers and they replied that they do not.  In fact, one even testified so.  And, I haven’t heard of one person saying that the Acme Widget Company requires a 600 to get a job there; you’d think that would have bubbled up by now.  If it ever comes to light, the employer can say goodbye to the scores because they are violating their contract with the credit bureau.

Here is a blurb from a press release that I wrote:

About the Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com, The Credit Scoring Site, has tracked events and trends in credit scoring since 1998. Approaching the topic of credit scores from a consumer’s perspective, creditscoring.com asks the questions an average person would ask, and provides relevant, useable, documented analyses. For more information, contact The Credit Scoring Site, 937-681-3224; email: greg@creditscoring.com; website: http://creditscoring.com. PO Box 342, Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342.

A long time ago, Nolo (who you mentioned) said that I use creditscoring.com to launch “often strident, sometimes wacky, but usually well-documented attacks on the credit-scoring concept and the industries that support it.”  Facts, documentation and sources are merely essentials.  But I’m particularly proud of the “wacky” part.

A Federal Reserve publication calls my work “interesting reading.”  Have you ever been mentioned by the Fed?  It’s thrilling.  On the other hand, McClatchy’s News and Observer published: “He’s also no fan of people who disseminate misinformation. His website shows a dogged determination to go after everyone who gets it wrong: journalists, the Federal Reserve, the credit bureaus, talk show hosts.”

Because of the poor response by mass media (and the desperate, pathetic ad hominem tactic) regarding this silly-turned-serious employers nonsense that you fuel, I began writing Page A2Media accuracy, errors and corrections.  However, I have no illusions about the dark future of misinformation.  I struggle with that, the deep and broad influence of a solitary, 12 year old crackpot, the meaning of expert and Rachel at Cardholder Services’ real name.

Other like-minded detractors to the employers myth are John Ulzheimer, the Baltimore Sun, the Columbia Daily Tribune, Kevin Drum, the USA Today editorial department and Lester Rosen.  I want to extinguish that myth because Americans have enough to worry about.

Please quote the words in the documents that you provided links to that indicate that employers use credit scores.

In your book “Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey” (2010), you claim, “Many people don’t realize this, but your credit score is used for all sorts of things like determining how much you’d pay for a home or car loan, whether a landlord will rent to you, what kinds of rates insurance companies will charge you, and even if an employer is willing to hire you.”

So, when did you write that one?  And, what are the names of two employers who use credit scores?

I don’t reach out.  Now, are you still a Believer, or are you a Nonbeliever?


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


From: Manisha Thakor
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 5:44 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Duffy, Chris; Beth Gissinger; Sharon Kedar Subject:
Re: Adams Media, F+W Media II, credentials, credence

Greg,

Thank you for this additional background.

We share your desire not to perpetuate mis-information or give Americans more to worry about and will discus this with our publisher.

Manisha


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 1:31 PM
To: Duffy, Chris; Beth Gissinger
Cc: Manisha Thakor; Sharon Kedar Subject:
RE: Adams Media, F+W Media II, correction, digital form

I purchased a copy of the book in digital form today.  The error that you published still exists.

What is stopping you from correcting it?


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