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No clarification by Newsday on credit scores and employers

6 years ago, a media organization published Myth 2 (the false notion that employers use credit scores). What happened next.

| By Greg Fisher

See #myth2 and #1506l.

It was a hot potato, but, a major insurance company came through (finally).

Accused of using credit scores for employment screening (that is impossible; the credit bureaus do not sell credit scores for employment purposes), the insurance company (an employer) gave an emphatic, definitive answer.

That was 6 years ago, and the urban legend still exists. Incredibly, Experian, one of the three big consumer reporting agencies in the U.S., still helps it along. One of its many websites still states, "Creditors, landlords, and even some employers consider a person's credit score before deciding whether they will approve a loan, lease an apartment, or hire an applicant."

See "Even," a study of an intensive adjective: A word is used to emphasize a point that is not even true.

Media organization Forbes assists: "According to credit.com, in addition to lenders and credit card companies, the most common businesses that use your credit scores also include home and auto insurance companies, employers, landlords, cell phone companies, child support enforcement agencies and government agencies." #n511

That listicle ("A Special Feature Brought to You by Experian") is titled, ironically, "Credit Myth Busters," and the item in question is coincidentally and deliciously delineated as the number 2 myth.

It's just more of the usual serendipitous pandemonium seen when industry and media get together.

But, Experian may be listening: Sometime in the last three months, a page on an Experian website containing Myth 2 was replaced.

Its first sentence used to say: "More employers than ever are checking the credit scores of potential applicants, and that could create a vicious cycle, according to a report from the Minneapolis Examiner."

Apparently, the tail wags the dog (and with much detail): More employers than ever!

But Experian's Myth 2 rannygazoo is only one of many. The list just keeps growing.

From the trenches, here's a month-long tale of woe from 2009 about an accurate paraphrase of an inaccurate statement.


www.newsday.com/business/expert-advice...

From: creditscoring.com [greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 2:51 PM
To: Stacy Francis [Francis Financial]
Cc: Patricia Kitchen [reporter, Newsday (Cablevision)]
Subject: credit score, employer

In its story, "Expert advice on keeping your credit score golden," Newsday writes, "They can lead some potential employers, who are increasingly reviewing credit reports, to see a job applicant as less than responsible, Francis said."

See creditscoring.com/influence... .

Who is your source for that information?


From: Patricia Kitchen
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 4:28 PM
To: creditscoring.com
Subject: Re: credit score, employer

Francis

Newsday
[phone]
[email address]


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: 10:47 PM 3/4/2009
To: Stacy Francis
Cc: letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Subject: Re: credit score, employer II

Please reply.

There is a message in the story's comments section. [that message]

Yesterday the date of the story was 3/3. Today the story is dated 3/4 and it is #1 in a Google News search for the term credit score.


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 11:48 AM
To: letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Cc: Stacy Francis; Elissa, Francis Financial
Subject: Re: credit score, employer III

The story still appears as a top-ten search engine result.  In fact, in one case, it is #1.

What evidence suggests that credit scores are used in employment screening?



From: Stacy Francis
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 11:52 AM
To: creditscoring.com; letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday.cnchost.com; Patricia Kitchen
Cc: Elissa Burton
Subject: RE: credit score, employer III

I personally have had my credit score reviewed when interviewing at [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.] as has many of my clients!

Wishing you prosperity and happiness,

Stacy Francis, CFP, CDFA
[address]
[address]
[phone]
[fax]

We are proud to be an independent fee-only referral-based business.


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 12:45 PM
To: [press contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Cc: Stacy Francis; letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Subject: RE: credit score, employer III

Do you use credit scores in employment screening?


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 2:08 PM
To: [press contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 3]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [investor contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Cc: Stacy Francis; letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Subject: RE: credit score, employer III

Please reply.


From: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:08 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: Inquiry

Hello,

You recently wrote to two of my colleagues with a question about [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]'s hiring process. If you can provide me with some additional information as well as all your contact information, I will do my best to get you a response. Thank you.

[Press contact 4]
[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
[phone]
[press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009 12:05 AM
To: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Subject: Re: Inquiry, credit scores in employment screening

On March 3rd, I performed a news search in two popular search engines using the term credit score. This story was #3 in one engine, and #1 in another:

http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bzcred0412451965mar04,0,105613.story

Today, the story is still #5 in one of those searches.

In the story's section titled "Impact of low scores," the story states, "They can lead some potential employers, who are increasingly reviewing credit reports, to see a job applicant as less than responsible, Francis said."

I wrote to Francis (Stacy Francis) and asked, "What evidence suggests that credit scores are used in employment screening?"

Her reply was, "I personally have had my credit score reviewed when interviewing at [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.] as has[SIC] many of my clients!"

Do you use credit scores in employment screening?

Thank you for your help.

Greg Fisher
Owner
The Credit Scoring Site
(creditscoring.com)
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342
greg@creditscoring.com


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 12:18 PM
To: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Cc: [press contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 3]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [investor contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Subject: Re: Inquiry, credit scores in employment screening IV

Please reply.


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 11:42 PM
To: letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Cc: Stacy Francis; [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 3]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [investor contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Subject: RE: credit score, employer IV

Ten days have passed and there is no reply from [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.].

Do you believe that credit scores are used by employers? What is your policy on clarifying paraphrases of interviewees?


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:36 AM
To: editor@newsday.com; letters@newsday.com; editor@newsday.com; publisher@newsday; Patricia Kitchen
Cc: Stacy Francis; [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [press contact 3]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [investor contact]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; [investor contact 2]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Subject: RE: credit score, employer IV

Please reply.


From: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 5:52 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employer IV

Mr. Fisher:

I am working on getting you a response, which I expect to have in the next day or two. I appreciate your patience.

Regards,

[Press contact 4]
[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
[phone]
[press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]


From: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 2:01 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: editor@newsday.com; Patricia Kitchen
Subject: RE: credit score, employer IV

Mr. Fisher:

In response to your inquiry, [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.] does not examine a credit score, per se, as part of its new hire review process. To be clear, in the case of individuals being considered for a select group of positions at the company, a review of a credit history is sometimes performed.

These reviews are only performed for individuals being considered for a position that would require them to provide financial advice, have access to a customer's financial information and/or perform financial transactions on behalf of a customer. In accordance with our regulatory obligations, one of our top priorities is ensuring that our customers' financial information is handled with the utmost security by talented associates with the background and experience that our customers expect.

Of course, in cases where a credit check is to be performed, [MAJOR INSURANCE CO.] follows the legal guidelines that have been established and first obtains the permission of the potential new hire before performing any type of credit check. Our goal is to be clear and forthright with both our associates and our customers.

I hope this clarifies our position and explains our rationale.

[Press contact 4]
[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]
[phone]
[press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 2:43 PM
To: editor@newsday.com; Patricia Kitchen
Cc: [press contact 4]@[MAJOR INSURANCE CO.]; Stacy Francis
Subject: RE: credit score, employer V

Do you still believe that credit scores are used by employers?

What is your policy on clarifying paraphrases of interviewees?


From: creditscoring.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:33 AM
To: editor@newsday.com; Patricia Kitchen
Subject: RE: credit score, employer VI

Please reply.

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