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Credit Score Myth 2, Reuters and employers

Five years later, the bizarre story regarding false information about employers using credit scores continues

| By Greg Fisher

Today, a 2015 item in the internet domain falsely states, "Credit scores are even sometimes used to vet job candidates these days."

That is Credit Score Myth 2. Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.

Author Bobbi Rebell also falsely (logically impossibly) states, "In the world of credit scores, anything above 660 (out of 850) is considered good."

The scale of the credit score she is referring to is 300 to 850, so, for instance, a 300 "out of 850" is mathematical nonsense (see Myth 6).

The article, edited by Reuters' Dan Grebler and Lauren Young, mentions the website organization Nerdwallet 6 times. Nerdwallet, itself, makes the same elementary blunder. "On the surface, it may seem that millennials' average VantageScore of 625 out of 850 is a sign that the youngest generation of consumers is in for tough financial times," writes Ben Luthi (who ties himself into a knot, elsewhere).

Inexplicably, one year ago, Nerdwallet suggested that lenders will lie to credit bureaus. "In a goodwill letter, you ask the creditor that reported your late payments to remove the black mark from your credit report" and "Persistence may help wear them down," says Anisha Sekar.

However, she fails to mention the name of any lender who lies.

More Myth 2 (employers) Nerdwallet nonsense:

"Your credit score determines your eligibility for credit cards, home loans, car loans, student loans, apartment rentals and even certain job positions." - Nerdwallet CEO Tim Chen (somehow, amazingly, deemed an expert by the U.S. government). February 28, 2010

"Your credit score is important. Very important. That three-digit figure is so influential that it determines your eligibility for credit cards, home and auto loans, student loans, apartment rentals and even some jobs." - Mike Anderson. November 5, 2012

"Landlords, insurance agents and potential employers may also review your score – and you're not borrowing money from them." - Lindsay Konsko. April 21, 2014

The company he keeps


From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 1:54 PM
To: David Thomson, 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet, and chairman, Thomson Reuters
Cc: Felix Salmon, blogger, Reuters; Linda Stern, reporter, Reuters; Erin Kurtz, head of public relations, Media & Editorial, head of Americas Public Relations, Thomson Reuters; John Wasik, columnist, Reuters; Lauren Young, personal finance editor, Reuters; Ryan Chittum, deputy editor, The Audit, Columbia Journalism Review; Lester Rosen, CEO, Employment Screening Resources (ESR); Kevin Drum, political blogger, Mother Jones; Leslie McFadden, associate editor,; Mary Cornatzer, business editor, Raleigh News & Observer; John Ulzheimer, The Ulzheimer Group; Craig Watts, Fair Isaac; Brian O'Connor, personal finance editor, Detroit News
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-05-23, Believers

I'll put down Dr. Greene and Ms. Young as Believers.

A Fair Isaac spokesman told me that its statement in its infamous video is based merely on "anecdotal information":

As for the names of businesses using FICO scores, please remember that FICO credit scores are calculated and sold to businesses by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, using our scoring model. You might want to check with them.

The mention you cited from the myFICO video clip was based on anecdotal information gleaned from public sources such as published articles. I don't have those sources at hand to share, but I'm sure you're better at using Google than we are and will be able to quickly identify a sample of them yourself.

I daresay that that creates a circular reference: Fair Isaac refers to journalists who refer to Fair Isaac.

First, as far as I know, Fair Isaac (who wants to be known as FICO), only sells credit scores to consumers, so your source—who you seem to see as the ultimate authority on all things credit-score—is, at best, second-hand. Second, Fair Isaac cannot name a business that uses scores for employment screening, and you have not named one. And, third, obtaining a source after a story is written does not change the fact that your writer failed to provide a source or produce evidence in the first place. Is your journalistic rigor met in any of these circumstances?

I have found no vendor who provides credit scores to employers (and neither have you), and it is not for lack of looking. Who do the employers get them from? It is not Fair Isaac or the consumer reporting agencies, so, based on your belief, there is apparently some kind of underground economy for the service. The CRAs sell scores to businesses (for other purposes), so, you might want to—as Fair Isaac suggested—check with them. I did. Your writer failed to answer the question: "So, if the consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes, then how could the employer access your score?"

When will you make a correction?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342

Exactly eight months later, Fair Isaac CEO Mark Greene was replaced by board member William Lansing.

Follow the activity of Item #1105c using that hashtag.

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