Friday, March 17, 2006

Privacy? There is no such thing.

The Realty Times article reveals how credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) are selling your fresh mortgage application data within 24 hours of your you filing a mortgage application with a bank.

They're selling the information to mortage lenders with your phone number, credit score, what kind of a mortgage you applied for and everything else they know about you. Equifax will probably also sell your email address with the data, too, considering they do e-pending for other clients as well.

There is no way for consumers to opt out and there is no way to know where your data ends up. Why would phishers and other criminals even bother with cracking when they could just pretend to be a mortgage lender and legally (!!!!!) buy your information for peanuts. The information would be much more uptodate, i.e. valuable as well. You bet the information is resold to anyone who pays for it. The possibilities for misuse are huge.

Some mortgage brokers are very upset about this practise, because the credit bureaus are basically selling their mortgage leads to their competitors. Some suggest the practise is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Personally I say the data brokers should be shut down by law, but we know that's never going to happen considering the way the US legislators work. At the very least the data brokers should be tightly regulated and completely permission based, meaning not one bit of your data transfers hands unless you specifically allowed it. This wild west mentality towards your financial and other information is exactly why we have the widespread phishing problem.

I'm in the process of applying for a mortgage at the moment. If I get unsolicited calls from mortgage brokers, after applying for one, that'll be one interesting phonecall. Anyone with ideas how to most effectively f*** with anyone that calls me, leave a comment or send me an email.

-TPP

1 comment:

Paul said...

After living the American dream for almost 2.5 years now, I can safely say that you should adjust your expectations and look forward to recieving about 3-4 mailings per month regarding the "LOW LOW LOW" rates that you are eligible for after you file for your mortgage. Love it.

However--I haven't had an issue with folks calling me. Considering if you got your mortgage 2 years ago, it's a pretty *damn* small chance anyone's rates would look competitive ;-)