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Home > Influence > Consumer Advocates > Consumers Union > Fabulously Broke (again)

Influence: The Consumerist, Consumers Union, ValueClick

The Believers team meme gains steam, and things aren't always what they seem. Credit scores in employment and job screening.

Also, see

National Financial Literacy Month, 2011 (video),
Myth: Employers use credit scores


The Consumerist suggests reading an article about credit scores on the website Financial Edge by The Financial Edge piece states, "Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but knowing what actually hurts or helps your credit score will help you present yourself in the best light possible when it comes to wanting to land that job, secure that dreamy apartment or buy your first home."

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

Internal conflict

Lauding the the Financial Edge story in its article "Ways You Can Screw Up Without Messing Up Your Credit Score," The Consumerist reassures, "Fabulously Broke puts you at ease by identifying several blunders that won't torpedo your credit score."

A reader of the Consumerist blog post took the information from Financial Edge as the truth. Poor kuhjäger writes: "It still bothers me that places can use your credit score to decide if they are going to hire you... Can't get a security clearance, so couldn't get a commission in the military, a job with the government, or anything in finance. I pay my actual bills, I am a respectable person, but for the next few years I am screwed."

On the other hand, an earlier Consumerist entry, circa 2007, dispels the notion of credit score use by employers.

On the third hand, after a year and a half, Consumers Union has still not replied, and is listed as a Believer.

Great minds think alike

In an email exchange last month, the author of the Financial Edge story, the person known as Fabulously Broke ("And yes, I get paid for each article"), failed to answer a question regarding the source of her claim about employers and credit scores. Instead, her hand forced, the scribe replied with a change to the copy. It wasn't pretty, and, unfortunately, the change did not make it to Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle.

Fabulously Broke's Financial Edge post bears a striking resemblance to a page at For instance:

"8 Slipups That Won't Hurt Your Credit Score" "10 Things That Don't Affect Your Credit Score"
"You may find information about your employer listed on your report, but your income has no impacts[SIC] on your credit score." "While information about your employer may be listed on your credit report, your income is not. Having a high or low salary won’t directly impact your credit score."
"Much like the insurance, utility and cell phone providers, if you pay your rent on time, it won't help your credit score because the credit bureau would ignore it even if it appeared on the report." "Paying your rent on time won’t help your credit score. In fact, the FICO score would ignore the rental trade line even if it appeared on your credit report."
"If your counselor is handling the payments for you, check on a regular basis that the payments are arriving on time, because late payments will hurt your score even though they're coming from a credit counselor." "If a credit counselor is managing your credit card payments, you must make sure your creditor is getting your payments on time. Late payments hurt your credit score even if they’re coming from a credit counselor."
"You can check your credit report as much as you'd like without damaging it, but make sure you use a trusted source such as the credit bureaus themselves." "You can check your credit report as many times as you’d like and your credit score won’t drop a single point as long as you check it through a reputable source, like, the credit bureaus, FICO, or a legitimate third-party."

And the blogger is not talking. But, hey, she's anonymous; nothing ventured, nothing lost.

As the employers/scores matrix propagates itself, little progress in substantiation was made in a separate flare-up of the meme theme in a highbrow circle. The confusion, mass hysteria, and loose proliferation does not discriminate.

The parent company of The Consumerist - Shoppers bite back is Consumer Media LLC. Consumer Media is a subsidiary of Consumers Union, the publisher of "Consumer Reports."

Financial Edge by Investopedia is owned by ValueClick.

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Do employers use credit scores?

Don't believe it.

April, 1997: "Information on how to obtain one's credit score is suspiciously absent from your site. How do I get mine?"

"And we're not running a game show. I mean, we're evaluating risk. We're not trying to have people get--achieve the highest score."

"Fisher is a fan of going by the book and then beyond it."

"He beat the scoring proponents to the punch by scooping up the web address, from which he launches often strident, sometimes wacky, but usually well-documented attacks on the credit-scoring concept and the industries that support it."

Realty Consumers Empowered By Online "Peoples" Court - "His Web site helped him-- and millions of other consumers-- extend fair credit reporting rights to credit scoring information."

"Fisher operates the Web site, which skewers the secrecy of the credit bureaus and Fair, Isaac." - The Detroit News

" is an exceptionally-interesting site that offers news and information regarding credit scoring and-- really-- the entire credit process."

"'Garbage in, garbage out,' says Greg Fisher of Dayton, Ohio, who runs two Web sites on the subject, and"