Fox corrects, then repeats, credit score employers myth

In November, Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs appeared on something from the Fox Business Network called FBN Live.  

Levin said, “Employers are not allowed–nor do they–look at credit scores; that’s an urban myth.” (37:00)


Interviewer Tracy Byrnes responds: “Wait!.  Can you say that again?  So, in theory, your employer is not supposed to look at your score?”

Levin explains that credit reports for employment purposes do not even contain credit scores.

However, the title of the web page for the video is ”Don’t Let Your Credit Score Hurt Your Job Hunt – We take a look at how a bad credit score could hurt your job prospects.”

And, last month, in a conversation about about money and human emotion, the Fox Business host had this exchange with an author and “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional“ who has a “passion for helping people”* (1:45):

GUEST:  It’s a stressful time.

HOST: Well, especially because, now, you know, you go for a new job and your new employer’s looking at your credit score. 

GUEST: Yes!

HOST:  It’s everywhere.

GUEST:  Agh! 

HOST: Right?

GUEST: It’s true.  It’s true.


The web page for that video is titled, “Emotions Behind Our Financial Decisions - Financial advisor and author Karen Lee offers insight into understanding the emotions behind our financial decisions.”

But another unfortunate action brings the circus full-circle.  Even Credit.com states: “Your credit score is a determining factor in your mortgage and auto loan terms, credit card rates and insurance premiums. Some employers and landlords also take your score into consideration.”

*see all the clichés: “passion,” “helping people,” etc.

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 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

credit score, employers, NBC, San Diego, KNSD NBC 7/39, round 2

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2010 10:44 PM
To: Bob Hansen, NBC Universal, NBC 7/39 News, San Diego
Cc: Greg Dawson, vice president, News, NBC 7/39, San Diego; tips@nbcsandiego.com; isee@nbcsandiego.com; newsletters@nbcsandiego.com; feedback@nbcsandiego.com; SoundDiego@nbcuni.com; knsd.feedback@nbcuni.com; Gillian M. Lusins, NBC Universal Law Department; Gary Sheffer, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, GE
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, NBC, San Diego, KNSD NBC 7/39 II, not so fast

Actually, that document states, “An employment report provides everything a standard credit report would provide. However it doesn’t include your credit score or date of birth.”

You are not the first to try to use that page to attempt to justify a comment about job screening and credit scores.  Your page still says, “That score can influence a landlord or a potential employer.”  When are you going to change it?

Did you broadcast that story on the public’s airwaves?

Do you know Matt Lauer?  What’s his email address?  I want his source, too.

credit score, employers, NBC, San Diego, KNSD NBC 7/39

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2010 1:21 PM
To: Bob Hansen, NBC Universal, NBC 7/39 News
Subject: credit score, employers, NBC, San Diego, KNSD NBC 7/39

You wrote, “That score can influence a landlord or a potential employer.”

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

[UPDATE 9/20/2010]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, September 20, 2010 10:55 PM
To: Bob Hansen, NBC Universal, NBC 7/39 News, San Diego
Cc: Greg Dawson, vice president, News, NBC 7/39, San Diego; tips@nbcsandiego.com; isee@nbcsandiego.com; newsletters@nbcsandiego.com; feedback@nbcsandiego.com; SoundDiego@nbcuni.com; knsd.feedback@nbcuni.com; Gillian M. Lusins, NBC Universal Law Department
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, NBC, San Diego, KNSD NBC 7/39 II

Did you just make it up?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342
937-681-3224

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.

Kucinich, DFAS, ABC, employers and credit scores

According to the web site of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), employees at a federal agency have been suspended due to low credit scores.

kucinich20101

Rep. Dennis Kucinich

A press release on kucinich.house.gov states, “The bipartisan group requested a suspension of a policy that has resulted in the unjust suspension of employees for reasons such as a low personal credit score until a full review can be conducted.”

The sub-headline is “Employees Suspended Indefinitely for Reasons such as Low Credit Scores.”

The release refers to a letter to the director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) that was signed by Kucinich and three other Ohio members of the House of Representatives.  The letter uses the term “credit rating,” but does not contain the word score.

Consumer reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.  A day before the Representatives’ letter, TransUnion submitted written testimony to the House Financial Services Committee stating: “We believe it is worth noting that credit scores are not used in connection with employment. TransUnion will not provide any score on a credit report that is obtained for employment purposes.”

A. Troy Marshall is the president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) – Local 3283.  Representative Marcia L. Fudge is a member of the House of Representatives from Ohio’s 11th district.  ABC news reports, “Marshall, however, argues that DFAS is making decisions based simply on the credit score” and “Like Fudge, Marshall says he’s not opposed to credit checks in principal, but says he believes the government should take an employees‘ performance and work history into account instead of relying just on a credit score.”

The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals reviews cases regarding employees, contractors, security clearances and debts using the “whole-person analysis.”

Credit Karma suggests having creditors lie to credit bureaus


Credit Karma suggests groveling

Credit Karma suggests groveling

Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin says that if you don’t like your credit history, just make one up.

Yesterday, the ABC News NOW interview subject said to beg your lender to change its report to the consumer reporting agencies about you to something more positive.  Lin thinks pestering the bank helps, too.  “You might want to try multiple times if you don’t get a good result the first time,” he said.

Anchor Tanya Rivero plays right along as Lin says, “It’s been known to happen where you can get a lender to remove a delinquency particularly if you were traveling or some other occurence happens.” 

Lin’s malarkey about lying is known elswhere as the Goodwill Adjustment, and is a fashionable notion in pop media circles.

(This vidcap that makes him look like a bozo is a coincidence.)

Employers, scores and WBIR 10 News at Five

WBIR TV-10, Knoxville asks, “Did you know that many potential employers check your credit score?”

And, the people at the East Tennessee Gannett television station want you to tell them what you think.  Their website says, “Selected comments will air on Wednesday’s 10 News at Five.” 

Here is one comment that may or may not make it on the air:

GregFisher wrote:

Consumer reporting agency Equifax stated, “We do not knowingly provide scores for pre employment screening.”

Experian stated, “Experian’s business policy prevents the inclusion of credit scores with an employment report, at Experian called Employment Insight.”

And, in Oregon, a TransUnion official testified, “There’s no such thing as a credit score in employment.”

http://tinyurl.com/ylqv76y

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?


UPDATE, 3/3/2010, 10 pm

It didn’t make it.

What did make it was one that said, “A low credit score does not mean someone will not be a valuable or trustworthy employee.”

That’s another one to add to the video compilation.