There’s a certain irony in the FTC’s record-setting $20 million settlement with Vivint Smart Home, a national seller of smart home technology platforms, including security devices and monitoring services. One purpose of the company’s products is to help residents ensure that people at their front door are who they say they are. But according to the FTC, Vivint engaged in some identity deception of its own.
Blog Posts Tagged with Credit Reporting
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology promise to revolutionize our approach to medicine, finance, business operations, media, and more. But research has highlighted how apparently “neutral” technology can produce troubling outcomes – including discrimination by race or other legally protected classes. For example, COVID-19 prediction models can help health systems combat the virus through efficient allocation of ICU beds, ventilators, and other resources.
Cult classic The Big Lebowski proves that mistaken identity can be entertaining on film. But for people looking to rent a house or apartment, it wasn’t so entertaining when tenant background reports about them provided by California company AppFolio included someone else’s convictions and evictions.
What are the biggest risks of parking? A dinged door? A bruised bumper? For consumers victimized by the pernicious practice of debt parking, the impact on their financial health can be devastating. And if you’re a debt collector who engages in debt parking, an FTC settlement with Midwest Recovery Systems suggests you could face law enforcement action for violations of the FTC Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
1970 saw the ban of cigarette advertising on TV, the debut of Doonesbury, the inaugural flight of the Boeing 747, and the start of the New York City Marathon. Another notable 1970 first celebrating its 50th anniversary this week: the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the nation’s first consumer financial privacy statute. A review of 50 years of enforcement suggests that the law has been worth its weight in gold to consumers.
As adage-writers go, whoever penned, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” should have looked for another line of work. And, the writer should have hoped that prospective employers wouldn’t spot a promotion for MyLife.com, saying they could see the writer’s criminal and sexual offender records by subscribing to MyLife’s background reports.
An FTC complaint against Kohl’s Department Stores alleges the retailer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by refusing to provide victims of identity theft with complete records of questionable transactions – a right the FCRA guarantees to victimized consumers. The $220,000 settlement is a reminder to other companies to rethink their approach to that provision of the law.
Headlines tout rapid improvements in artificial intelligence technology. The use of AI technology – machines and algorithms – to make predictions, recommendations, or decisions has enormous potential to improve welfare and productivity. But it also presents risks, such as the potential for unfair or discriminatory outcomes or the perpetuation of existing socioeconomic disparities. Health AI offers a prime example of this tension.
To review everything the FTC did in 2019 dealing with consumer privacy and data security – Enforcement, Advocacy, Rules, Workshops, Consumer Education, Business Guidance, and International Engagement – it could take days to compile all that information. The FTC has an easier way to share those developments with your company, clients, and colleagues.
California-based mortgage broker Mortgage Solutions FCS also does business under the name Mount Diablo Lending. And according to the FTC, the company gave consumers a devil of a time if they posted negative reviews on Yelp. Is your business pondering how to address unfavorable consumer comments?
They say hindsight is 20/20, but what about foresight? We’re not ones to prognosticate, but a look at notable FTC cases and initiatives from the past year suggests some topics likely to be top of mind in months to come. Here is a non-exhaustive list of issues in our 2019 rearview mirror and likely visible through the 2020 windshield.
In conjunction with the recent Accuracy in Consumer Reporting workshop, the FTC and CFPB have asked for public comments. The agencies are looking for feedback about issues affecting the accuracy of both traditional credit reports and employment and tenant background screening reports. But if you thought you had to burn the midnight oil over the holidays to file a timely comment, here’s some good news.
“Accuracy” is the linchpin of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and it’s the topic of an FTC-CFPB workshop today. Industry representatives, consumer advocates, law enforcers, and others will discuss accuracy considerations both in traditional credit reporting and in employer and tenant background screening reports. The webcast will go live minutes before the 9:00 ET start time.
How central is accuracy to the credit reporting system? It’s important enough that Congress mentioned it in the second line of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – and more than 70 times in the text of the statute. On December 10, 2019, the FTC and CFPB will host a public workshop to talk about issues affecting the accuracy of both traditional credit reports and background screening reports used by employers and landlords.
When consumers apply for credit, housing, or employment, consumer reports are often used to help decide whether they can get that loan, apartment, or job. With so much at stake, the accuracy of those reports is of the utmost importance. On December 10, 2019, the FTC and CFPB will host a workshop to discuss issues related to the accuracy of traditional credit reports and background screening reports used by prospective employers and landlords.
Patch your software. Segment your network. Monitor for intruders. According to tech experts, those are security basics for businesses of any size. But when you’re industry giant Equifax – a company in possession of staggering amounts of highly confidential information about more than 200 million Americans – it’s almost unthinkable not to implement those fundamental protections.
Looking to take a deep dive into the breadth and depth of the FTC’s approach to consumer privacy and data security in the past year? The FTC’s website, including the Business Center, has what you need. But what if you or your clients prefer an at-your-fingertips digest of developments in 2018? We’re got that covered, too.
Steely Dan may be one of the best duos of the rock era. (Sorry, Donnie and Marie fans.) Their song “Hey Nineteen” reminds us to mention some FTC consumer protection developments that could be of interest to your company or clients in 2019. As “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” when you’re “Reelin’ in the Years” – or at least recapping the past one – consider this non-exhaustive and in-no-particular-order case compilation.
When people are looking to rent a house or apartment, the most important “screening” isn’t on the windows of the prospective new place. It’s the tenant background screening that goes on behind the scenes, the results of which can make the difference between home sweet home and homeless.
Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st. What does that mean for your customers and employees?
Free credit freezes
Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. Starting September 21st, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. They also can get free freezes for their children.