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.

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

Colorado, Morgan and the credit score zombie myth

The news media seem to repeat anything politicians tell them, including what one expert calls “The Myth of the Decade.”

That was the last decade, by the way.

The credit-scores-are-used-by-employers zombie myth’s life undead existence was reanimated again recently thanks to CBS’s Channel 4 in Denver, the Associated Press, the Denver Post– and the Post and the AP acting together.  The inaccurate information is even back on Wikipedia.

At the Colorado statehouse, the misinformation pushes Senate Bill 3 toward the brink. State senator Morgan Carrol’s bill states, “In spite of these systemic flaws, the nonpartisan public policy research and advocacy organization Demos concluded in its 2011 report ‘Discrediting America‘ that consumer credit scores and credit reports are being used more often and in more contexts than ever before, including by employers, utility companies, and insurers.”

Join the side of the truth, or the zombie myth may never end, Morgan.  Morgan.  Three years.  Three years.

credit score, employers, CBS4 Denver

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2012 9:56 AM
To: Rachel Lulay, CBS, National Amusements
Cc: Gloria Neal, award winning on-air talent, CBS4 Denver, National Amusements; Tim Wieland, news director, CBS4 Denver, National Amusements; Randy Fischer, state representative, Colorado; Randy Fischer, state representative, Colorado; Morgan Carroll, majority caucus chair, state senator, Colorado
Subject: credit score, employers, CBS4 Denver, National Amusements

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3386.

You broadcast, “I was surprised to learn that a lot of companies already do look at credit scores when hiring.”

Your report is inaccurate.  The national consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.

On what day before the hearing will you broadcast a correction at the same time of day?


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

credit score, employers, CBS MoneyWatch.com

See the video that includes clips of a senator, a congressman, a governor and The Early Show on CBS.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:47 AM
To: Dan Kadlec, contributor, CBS MoneyWatch
Subject: credit score, employers, CBS MoneyWatch.com

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=2258, http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=cbs and  http://blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=nationalamusements.

You wrote, “In the real world you’ll want and need a potential employer or landlord or auto dealer who runs a credit check on you to find a good score that testifies to your dependability.”

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?


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

Myth: Employers use credit scores (video) – National Financial Literacy Month

National Financial Literacy Month – Video illustrates myth that employers use credit scores

creditscoring.com video shows media, experts, central bank and legislators furthering the myth that employers use credit scores in hiring decisions.

Myth: Employers use credit scores

Myth video: Employers use credit scores

Credit scores and credit scares on CBS

The national consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.

In 2010, CBS gave us, “From your prospective employers to your prospective landlords, most companies will check your credit score in order to gauge their risk.”

Today, the Early Show host completed the list of the big three network hosts, saying, “this three-digit number can determine whether you get a mortgage or car insurance–sometimes even a job.”

He throws it to the same correspondent who did the dubious deed in 2010.

Credit scores in old and new media

A CBS News correspondent said:

“(Your credit score) is what almost every company in your life uses to determine whether you are a credible, trustworthy borrowing candidate. From your prospective employers to your prospective landlords, most companies will check your credit score in order to gauge their risk. No one likes a deadbeat!”

An anonymous writer for Investopedia had the (exact) same thought

“Well, it’s what almost every company in your life uses to determine whether you are a credible, trustworthy borrowing candidate. From your prospective employers to your prospective landlords, most companies will check your credit score in order to gauge their risk. No one likes a deadbeat!”  [update, 4/24/2011]

But, even funnier, is that the chain goes one more step:  The anonymous writer thinks a lot like another writer.

The Counter-Plagiarism Handbook : CJR
Copy, Shake, and Paste
University of Chicago Plagiarism Guidelines

—–

Update 12/23/2010:  Part Two

CBS furthers employers & scores thing in myths segment

Things always happen in threes.

The three national consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.  And today, completing a 2010 sweep of the big three networks morning coffee klatches, CBS aired this:  “That score is the number one thing merchants look at, you know, employers look at.”

In the print version of the story, CBS business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis has the chance to be more eloquent and to make the point clear, saying, “From your prospective employers to your prospective landlords, most companies will check your credit score in order to gauge their risk.”

Fate is cruel. Cross-promotiong like a good employee, on the air, the correspondent refers to MoneyWatch, a CBS web site. But a MoneyWatch article states the opposite of the information in yesterday’s broadcast. It says: “So for those of you who believe, suspect or insist that a bad credit score will cost you a job, take comfort: That simply is not true.”

Watch ”The Early Show” host Harry Smith take it in while Jarvis does the deed:

And with that, The Tiffany Network earned a place in history, and in the next exciting video

The hilarious part:  The segment is titled, “Biggest Credit Card Myths Debunked.”

NBC TODAY: Employers use credit scores

The consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.

However, last month on NBC, “TODAY” host Matt Lauer introduced a segment with this line:  “This morning on TODAY’S MONEY, five ways to improve your credit score. It impacts all areas of your life from getting loans to how much you pay for insurance, even whether or not you might get a job.”

The interviewee, “TODAY” financial editor Jean Chatzky, does not disagree with Lauer’s statement.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Earlier this year on ABC‘s “Good Morning America,” George Stephanopoulos said that your credit score is the key to getting a good job.  CBS did the dubious deed three years ago.