Equifax Is Obtaining Workers’ Salary Info & Selling it to Debt Collectors!

NBC news reports that Equifax is obtaining salary information from corporations and others and selling it to debt collectors and others..

The information is collected in a database created through an Equifax-owned company called The Work Number.

It is if folks posted their salaries on the Internet. The salary information for sale by Equifax through The Work Number is incredibly detailed with paystub information dating back years for many individuals, names of health care providers, and whether they ever filed an unemployment claim. In 2009, Equifax said the data covered 30 percent of the U.S. working population, and it now says The Work Number is adding 12 million records annually.

Organizations pay Equifax for the privilege of giving away their employees’ personal information.

Companies sign up for The Work Number because it gives them an easy way to outsource employment verification of former workers. Firms hate taking these calls, which usually come when a former employee is applying for a new job, because they are a costly distraction for human resources departments and open the firm up to lawsuits if someone says something disparaging about the former employee. So they contract with The WorkNumber, which automates the process. In exchange, firms upload their human resources data to The Work Number, which was part of an independent St.Louis-based firm named TALX until it was acquired by Equifax in 2007 for $1.4 billion.

Companies sometimes tell employees their information is not accessible to others through this means, but that is not true. Kathy Sandy of Sommerville, N.J. was surprised to find that a debt collector had accessed information from her report two years ago, something she learned only when she obtained her “consumer disclosure” from The Work Number.

Equifax advertises sale of the data representing that The Work Number specializes in employment and income verification direct from the employer.

Consumers who want to see what information The Work Number has on their employment history can visit TheWorkNumber.com.

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