I just heard a piece on NPR about Experian selling your credit history to collection agencies. They constantly monitor your credit activity and if you start to pay off your credit and are getting back on your feet, they notify the collection hounds and let them have at you. This sounded pretty damn wrong to me so I got on Google and found out some more about this.
Apparently this new form of invading your privacy was launched in January by Experian. Here is there press release.
In an effort to help financial
services organizations collect on large volumes of uncollected debt,
Experian(R), a global information solutions provider, today announced the
launch of Collection Triggers(SM). Collection Triggers is a robust and
flexible collections solution that monitors a company's portfolio of
collections accounts. When new information on one of these accounts becomes
available, indicating the possibility of recovering the debt, the organization
is notified within 24 hours and can then resume efforts to contact the
consumer and collect the outstanding debt.
"Our clients have been asking us to help solve the debt dilemma -- when
collection efforts go cold, the consequence is a huge burden of unpaid debt,"
said Kerry Williams, group president, Experian's Credit Services. "Collection
Triggers offers our clients the opportunity to know within 24 hours when a
debtor has had new credit activity, enabling quick action for the highest
probability of recovery."
So companies are paying to have real time updates on your credit status. Seems wrong to me. But I'm not a lobbyist for the credit industry. Now you may be thinking to yourself, "hey, i'm not in credit card debt, that isn't my problem". Think again. Applying for a mortgage? Refinancing? Well, your info is also being sold on a real time basis without your approval. Those are sold as "mortgage triggers".
As a former mortgage broker, Adryenn Ashley thought she knew what to expect when she refinanced her house in March. Yet Ashley was unprepared for one twist she encountered: a barrage of phone calls and e-mails from rival lenders vying to sell her a better mortgage.
Some of the callers apparently knew just how much money she was borrowing. Others made such misleading come-ons such as "We need to update your information" or "We need to complete your application," Ashley recalls.
"I have privacy concerns over that," she said from her home in Petaluma. "My information should be confidential."
These days, mortgage shoppers like Ashley are supreme telemarketing targets, thanks to "trigger leads" that the credit reporting bureaus sell to lenders the instant a consumer's credit file is pulled by a loan officer. So when Ashley's lender checked her credit to prepare her loan, dozens of other mortgage companies were tipped off. These alerts can be had for a few bucks per name if bought in bulk.
So you give the lender you are working with the authority to pull your credit report. And then Experian sells it to anyone who is willing to buy that info. Does that sound like an invasion of privacy? Not to the mortgage industry. They claim that it allows you to "shop around". Apparently as a consumer you are too stupid to shop around and thus they need to make sure you do. What next? "medical triggers"?. "Hi this is Dr Hibbert. I understand you are suffering from Genital Herpes. I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my new product VaxaGen. Side effects may include...".