The efficacy of a social media message
Craig Mazin, story, screenplay
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?
- Step One: Social media message (above)(fail)
- Step Two: Email (below)(to Hollywood!)
From: Greg Fisher [mailto:email@example.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.
By the way, did you notice the boom microphone at the top of the frame in the scene in Diana’s house?
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342