Spring Privacy Series: Alternative Scoring Products

FTC Conference Center 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001 | Directions & Nearby

Event Description

On March 19, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission staff hosted a seminar on Alternative Scoring Products.

The speakers described a variety of predictive analytics products offered by many data brokers to predict trends and consumer behavior in a variety of contexts, ranging from identity verification and fraud prevention to marketing and advertising.

For example, companies are using scores to predict the likelihood that a person has committed identity fraud; the likelihood that a certain transaction will result in fraud; the credit risk associated with certain mortgage loan applications; whether contacting a consumer by mail or phone will lead to successful debt collection; whether sending a catalog to a certain address will result in an in-store or online purchase; the likelihood that an individual is taking his or her medication; a person’s presence on the Internet and his or her influence over others; or whether a customer is pregnant, and if so, when the baby is due.

According to media reports, these scores are determining whether transactions trigger further scrutiny, the kind of special offers that companies make to certain individuals (and those they don’t), and even whether the customer should speak to a high-ranking customer service agent at a company.

Consumers are largely unaware of these scores, and have little to no access to the underlying data that comprises the scores. As a result, these predictive scores raise a variety of potential privacy concerns and questions.

You can view an archived webcast of the event.  A transcript of the proceedings is also available below.

STAFF CONTACTS:

  • Andrea Arias (202) 326-2715
  • Katherine Armstrong (202) 326-3250

Event Details

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