Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Shotgunning" of inquiries for auto loans sometimes drag down credit scores of unsuspecting consumers

Recently, a few media sources have warned consumers that their credit scores can go down if the allow used car dealers to “shotgun” for loans, and make multiple inquiries.  One such story is here
However, Experian (which used to be Chilton, where I worked in Dallas in the 1980s)  explains that all inquiries for an auto loan within a given period (usually two weeks) is scored as a single inquiry.  Experian has a statement in a letter answering a question here.  By the way, I did not personally work on the interface with Fair Isaac t Chilton, although I worked with people who did;  I worked on the company's member billing systems (mainframe systems) and stayed very busy a few years.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Personal information caches could be deleted more quickly in commercial transactions

WJLA-7 in Washington DC held a phone bank on identity theft, as reported here

WJLA also reports on work, proposed at George Mason University, where personal information is deleted from a transaction stream as soon as it is used. a kind of pseudo Snap-Chat. 

But right now companies have too much incentive to mine personal data from the web (not even the “Dark Web), which then winds up in the hands of criminals as well as “legitimate” advertisers.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

AOL reports on another public records reporting company, "Background Alert"

AOL has told its subscribers about another company that aggregates public records on people and allows customers (presumably paying) to look up anyone.  This one is called “Background Alert”, here.
The article says some people find it addictive.  I personally don’t do this, even though I paid for a membership to “Been Verified”. (“Instant Checkmate” is another such company, and this doesn’t mean a chess endgame stalemate draw.)  Presumably, the site would tell you if someone looks you up – if you’re a member. It’s easy to imagine how public records data aggregation sites like this could be misused by “enemies”, loan wolves and the like, as discussed on the news.   They do appear to be entirely legal, and I would expect CNN to report on them one of these days. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

What happens when personal data hits the "Dark Web" overseas? On a personal level, less than expected

Kelly Jackson has an article on “Dark Reading”, tweeted by Webroot, “What happens when personal information hits the Dark Web”, link here

This was a controlled experiment, with fake data.  It found that there was a lot of buying and selling of data in Nigeria and Russia and other poor countries.  Yet a lot of the data is pretty worthless.  Once someone detects a fraudulent purchase, the account is cancelled.  Criminals pay for a lot of cord of personal data, knowing that a lot of it, perhaps most of it, cannot be easily used for id theft.