Florida SB 100, 2013

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
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 http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=4554.

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


Aaron, are you up to the task?

This is a big mess.

In the ridiculous, ubiquitous, growing, and out-of-control worldwide discussion about credit scores, some know what they are talking about, and some don’t.

And some should.  Employers are not permitted to check credit scores.  At least that’s what it says (verbatim) on Credit.com.

Well, eventually that’s what it said.

However, recently, riffing on a silly (and inaccurate) story in a fabulously New Yorky newspaper, the actual chairman and co-founder of Credit.com appeared on something called the Daily Ticker.  The Ticker is a video thing, and has a studio and everything (here’s your 15 minutes of fame, Yahoo!)!  The rambling host said, “So we know it can affect whether or not you can get a loan–clearly, your credit score–or, even, to get a job–now, possibly, whether or not you can get a date or a second date maybe–more importantly–or a partner, for that matter.”


That disjointed blather starts at 50 seconds into the video.  In response, the interviewee was silent regarding the interviewer’s inaccurate setup.  The guest didn’t bother to set the confused host straight.

Guilt by association?  Abso-flippin-lutely.  And lest you think that this is unfair to the guest–the guy from Credit.com–here are his words (verbatim) in a piece preceding the video screed on Yahoo!:

Apparently, the new normal involves both sides of the dating equation coughing up credit score information heretofore considered sacrosanct except in economic transactions. It’s no longer about getting a job, buying a house, car, cell phone or insurance, nor is it about renting an apartment, or anything else — and it’s not personal. Wait, I guess it is… According to several interviews conducted by the Times, if you don’t have the right score, you may well be shown the door.

Credit scores, relatively speaking, have not been around very long.  The FICO score was first seen in 1989, but consumers were not given direct access until 2001.  Bank accounts, however, have been around a few decades longer, but there doesn’t seem to be any trend for swapping bank statements on dates.

What’s more important: Your qualifications to take on more debt or how much money you have?

But, stop the virtual press!  Not only is the interviewer the host of that little video show, he is the actual editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Finance! (!)  Hokey smokes!  Now we’re getting somewhere! (!)  If he can’t make a correction, who can?

If only he–He, as He sits atop of the great Mount Yahoo!–gets the word, we can start to make some progress.  The efficacy of a social media message is in question.  But–hold on.  Hold on a cotton-pickin’ New York Times minute.  Maybe there is something better.  Yahoo (!) is using (!) an ancient, long-forgotten medium of communication (!) called “email” (!).  At the bottom of the story, it says: “We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email [!] at thedailyticker@yahoo.com.”

Yes, please send them email.  They’d just love it.  And social media messaging doesn’t work.

Terrible, terrible, terrible!  What’s the world coming to?  “Twitter.”  “Yahoo!”  “Times.”  With names like that, how seriously can you take this grand discussion?  But, hang on.  Just.  Another. Dad-blasted minute.  Dude.  This is different.  Think about it in terms of top-level domains.  Credit.com owns the word credit.

If, by the time you read this, the video disappears, don’t worry.  That delicious piece of nonsense has earned a place in the next employers/credit score video coming to a screen near you.






But, the myth is not their fault.

FICO score Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2012 11:29 AM
To: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson)
Cc: Karen Blumenthal, columnist, Getting Going, Wall Street Journal, News Corporation; Karen Blumenthal (2)
Subject: credit score, Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01

You published:

Apart from what you actually owe, it especially helps to have unused credit available. “Credit utilization“—how much of your credit you actually use—accounts for 30% of the credit-score calculation. While the rule of thumb is to keep your credit use to no more than a third of your available credit, FICO high achievers use, on average, a skimpy 7% of the credit available to them.

However, according to Fair Isaac, 30% is a number referring to the importance of a category in calculating a FICO score called “Amounts Owed,” not “Credit utilization.”  And, Amounts owed is driven by half a dozen factors, not just utilization.  Fair Isaac explains that one of the items in the category is, indeed, “How much of the total credit line is being used and other ‘revolving’ credit accounts,” but it is only one of 6 items in that segment, and, in fact, is listed fifth.

One of the other items (one that you failed to mention) is “The amount owed on different types of accounts.”  That introduces the idea of scoring based on specific types of loans—credit cards and installment accounts, for example.  Another is, merely, “How many accounts have balances,” which has nothing to do with how much credit is actually used.

In 2009, a Fair Isaac spokesman told me: “When my company explains FICO scoring to a general audience, we apply general weights to major data categories such as, ‘Amounts Owed is 30 percent of a typical consumer’s score.’ We don’t break that weighting into finer parts for individual factors, both to avoid unintentionally misleading the public and to protect the model’s proprietary information. “

But if all of that is not overt enough for you, try this.  Using the same words (apparently finally giving in, using the same, popular, over-simplifying street term) you use, Fair Isaac mentions this about the 30% category:  “Credit utilization, one of the factors evaluated in this category, considers the amount you owe compared to how much credit you have available.”

So, now we finally know—in words straight from the horse’s mouth—that “Credit utilization” (despite wacky Wikipedia‘s inaccurate information) does not account for 30 percent of the score calculation; it is only one of the factors in the 30% category (and we have only a vague idea of its weight).  What is not clear about that?  You used quotation marks around the term credit utilization.  Who are you quoting?

And, whose rule of thumb is it to use no more than a third of available credit?  Is there some plateau at 33 percent?  Are there only diminishing returns below that?

The state of the fourth estate is pathetic, so I created a website to deal with your industry’s poor attitude regarding accuracy.  Corrections are published on Page A2.

Finally, what are you doing about my comments that you removed?

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

[UPDATE, 2012-12-03 5:30 PM EST: Continued on Page A2]

Some have no credit score

In a commentary for UPI, Morgan Strong wrote

There is another thing far more certain than mere superstition that awaits the  newborn. There is a Social Security number and a credit rating. Beginning with  our squalling breech of the womb, we are marked by this obscenity. This marking,  indelible yet unseen, our credit score, will continue throughout our lives and  in effect compel us to make the choice of the path we are to follow.

That is inaccurate.  Consumer reporting agency files are not recorded and retained on the newborn.  If there is no information on a consumer, then there is no credit score.  According to the state of New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection, “The credit agencies do not knowingly keep credit files on minors.”


Credit score inquiries, U.S. News & World Report LP error

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 12:26 PM
To: Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze); Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze 2); Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Editor-in-Chief, U.S. News & World Report
Cc: Sabah Karimi, Wise Bread blogger, freelance digital copywriter, custom content provider, new media marketing specialist
Subject: credit score, inquiries, Wise Bread, Killer Aces Media, U.S. News

You published, “Applying for more credit cards, filling out a loan application, or doing anything that will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report will drop your credit score by a few points.”

However, Fair Isaac states, “For many people, one additional credit inquiry (voluntary and initiated by an application for credit) may not affect their FICO score at all.”

Who is your source?

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


QuinStreet and facts regarding credit scores

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 2:27 PM
To: Barbara Marquand, staff writer, QuinStreet
Cc: Doug Valenti, chairman, QuinStreet
Subject: Experian, Fox Business, Quinstreet, VantageScore; employers

Experian linked to an article on the Fox Business website in which you wrote, “VantageScores range from 501 to 990, and the breakdown of excellent to bad credit is similar to the scale used to calculate grades in school — 900 to 990 is excellent; 800 to 899 is good; 700 to 799 is fair; 600 to 699 is poor; and under 600 is failing.”

Who designated that tier as failing?  And, at what are those in that tier failing?

Also, you wrote, “Even employers sometimes check credit scores to gauge applicants’ sense of personal responsibility.”

What indicates that employers use credit scores?

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

Who is the Washington Post’s source?

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 5:29 AM
To: Donald E. Graham, chairman, Washington Post Company
Cc: Michelle Singletary, columnist, Washington Post; Patrick B. Pexton, ombudsman, Washington Post; Danielle Douglas, reporter, Washington Post; Ylan Q. Mui, reporter, Washington Post; Ylan Q. Mui; Meredith Hooker, managing editor for Internet, The Gazette; Allan Lichtman, professor, Department of History, American University; The Washington Post Company; John Temple, managing editor, Washington Post; Ken Harney
Subject: credit score, employers, Washington Post, 2012-09-25

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=4205, http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=trope-even-employers and http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=washington-post-company.

You published, “Credit agencies have come under greater scrutiny as consumer advocates question the accuracy of the scores, which affect the ability to get a mortgage, car loan, credit card and sometimes even a job.”

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

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

Name one

Employers do not use credit scores. But, imagine what would happen if an employer actually did use a credit score to deny employment to someone.

There would be an inquiry to the consumer’s file with the consumer reporting agency. Using that datum, the agency could determine who obtained the score. Then, of course, the consumer could complain, publicly, and, finally, this nonsense would be over. We would have an actual name of an employer who used a credit score for employment purposes!

But, that’s not going to happen. They said it happened at Harvard, but it did not. The big question in this debacle: How could the employer have obtained a score when they are not even included in employment reports?

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 12:10 PM
To: Michael Denning, publisher, Main Street Business Journal
Cc: Michael Patrick O’Brien, lawyer, Jones Waldo; Allen Smith, manager of workplace law content, Society for Human Resource Management; Marc A. Taylor, attorney, founding member, Taylor English Duma LLP; Bruce S. Richards
Subject: Name one

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=4193.

Regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you published, “The new provision states that anyone who uses a third party provided consumer report including a credit score to deny employment must disclose: (1) that a credit score was used; (2) the score; (3) up to four key adverse factors in the score and the agency that provided it so the applicant can correct any errors.”

Employers do not use credit scores.  What evidence indicates that employers use credit scores?  What is the name of an employer who uses credit scores?

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

Evidence that Rupert Murdoch is unfit

So, the problem is this: Mass media have repeated this myth so long and so loud that it will never go away. In statehouses, there has even been legislation passed and signed into law by the snookered to outlaw the notion behind the myth– even though the notion is not true. Meanwhile, even as it tries to own up to its errors, the (mis)information machine just keeps on churning, out of control.

The myth is that employers use c—-t s—-s (you almost even don’t want to say the words for fear of fueling the fire).

Employers do not do it. They can’t.  They cannot.  They can’t even GET c—-t s—-s.

Take the case of Rupert Murdoch, a man who, certainly, has taken his lumps, recently.  British legislators even went as far as to declare him “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”  And, as you can see here, when it comes to the issue about s—-s, he can’t get it right.  Its like he’s arguing with himself.

For example, first, one of Murdoch’s anchors–who (NSFW) is a lawyer–does does a whole bit with some guy with the title of Doctor.  For some real fun, see Murdoch’s copy change after creditscoring.com’s email: the word s—-s changed to reports (but not before at least one sucker copied it (why the myth will not die)). Got the picture?  A doctor and a lawyer (indeed, she reminds us of that right in the video).

Then, just days later, a host on another Murdoch network has credit report and c—-t s—-e expert John Ulzheimer on her show.  These two (mere laymen) know the truth and go over the thing again for the umpteenth time: employers do not use [you know what].


How do you get in touch with this guy Murdoch–or Oprah, or the head of NBC?  Or, are they just unreachable, out of touch and unfit?

The Ph.D.s are running the asylum

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:05 PM
To: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director, National Institutes of Health (via J. Burklow); Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director, National Institutes of Health (via M. Allen); Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director, National Institutes of Health (via K. Cravedi)
Cc: Dr. Woody; Dr. Woody (via Tom Estley); Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson); Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO, Fox Business Network, Fox News, News Corporation; Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO, Fox Business Network, Fox News, News Corporation (alt I); Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO, Fox Business Network, Fox News, News Corporation (alt II); Irena Briganti, group SVP, Media Relations, Fox Business Network, Fox News, News Corporation; Brian Lewis, executive vice president, Corporate Communications, Fox Business Network, Fox News, News Corporation; Daniel S. Whitman, assistant professor, Rucks Department of Management, Louisiana State University
Subject: credit score, employers, Fox Business, Act II, NIH

On your website, an abstract for the research publication “An empirical investigation of dispositional antecedents and performance-related outcomes of credit scores” falsely states, “Many organizations use credit scores as an employment screening tool, but little is known about the legitimacy of such practices.”

Employers do not use credit scores.  Please stop repeating the inaccurate information.

The authors of the report have not replied.  One of them is quoted in a story dated one day ago and published by Rupert Murdoch of Fox Business Network and News Corporation.  Murdoch published, “According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers check applicants’ credit scores for at least some of their job candidates as part of their hiring process.”  Then, the word scores changed to reports.

Poof—it’s just like magic, as if it never happened.  However, the piece still states, “It’s not enough that we have to keep up with three different versions that never seem to quite agree, but nowadays we must also be ready to defend our scores during a job interview.”

No, we do not.  That is preposterous.

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

[previous message]