Banks spying on your bills, rent payments, paychecks: report
By Daniel Tencer
Saturday, November 6th, 2010 — 10:25 pm
The age of the plain old credit score is gone, says a report at the Wall Street Journal, and it’s been replaced by ever more intrusive efforts by banks and credit agencies to gauge exactly what you’re worth, and what you can pay.
To that end, financial firms are now tracking their customers’ bank deposits, rent payments or home values, and even utility bills to figure out who may soon become a financial risk, reports WSJ‘s Karen Blumenthal.
So, for example, if your employer pays you through direct deposits and those deposits stop, financial institutions can now have warning that your money situation is likely to tighten, and may deny you credit on that basis.
But the efforts don’t end there. A new area of research, income estimation, “took off earlier this year,” WSJ reports, and involves financial firms collecting information about mortgages, personal loans and credit history to determine how much an individual makes and how much credit they should be given.
In this new era of deep data-mining, even your utility bills and rent check aren’t out of bounds.
The WSJ report comes as new concerns emerge over the extent to which businesses are digging into the lives of their customers in order to assess risk or market products.
Raw Story reported this week on SocialMiner, a new software application from Cisco Systems that allows businesses to monitor social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The software has raised concerns over the prospect of employers spying on the personal lives of their employees.
“With more and more Web-based conversations taking place over these social platforms, it’s now more critical than ever that businesses are aware of what their customers are saying about them and are able to respond to general inquiries or rectify customer service issues so as to enhance and protect brand reputation,” Cisco stated in a press release.
Meanwhile, a federal class action lawsuit alleges that numerous media companies, including Fox News and CNN, received detailed personal information on millions of cellphone users from an advertising company that circumvented security measures on their phones. Courthouse News reports: