- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
I recently applied for credit with a new bank. I was comfortable doing this as I subscribe to three credit bureaus and can pull my report, and scores, any time I wish. The scores are regularly updated as are the reports. Curiously, however, the bank used a company I had never heard of to evaluate my credit and their report, which was not immediately available to me, contained information that was not mine. When I asked the name of the company, I was told the bank could not release that information.
As a result of that experience this warning took on new meaning:
Most of us have heard of the credit bureaus. Consumer Reports recommends keeping an eye on them. Get your credit score periodically. Make sure you know what’s in your report before you borrow.
But now there’s a whole new breed of data company collecting personal information about you and issuing reports — and it is a lot harder to stay on top of what they are all saying.
These companies pull together data from property and utility records, liens and licenses, marriage records, lawsuits, traffic tickets, rental history and much more. You may not have heard of them, but they’ve probably heard of you. Exactly what they report may or may not be accurate.
These companies put basic information about you together with information from social networks, blogs, photo sharing sites and more — then sell that profile to anyone willing to pull out a credit card and pay for it.
Is it accurate? You have to pay to find out. Can you fix it? Maybe, with difficulty. Can you just delete that report? It depends. These companies are so new, there’s just no rules of the road for them yet.
It should be easy and free to check the data that’s being compiled about us. But it’s not easy, and certainly not free. Fees range from $1 to more than $50. You might have to agree to a monthly membership plan. The laws that make credit bureaus tell you what they know don’t even apply here.
These companies keep information about nearly everyone. Your friends and family probably want to gain some control too, so please, forward this e-mail and they can join you in action!
Have you had a bad experience with one of these “shadow credit bureaus?”