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ID Theft, the value? of Equifax, Experian TransUnion Data

I read on another blog, a list of 36 things that credit card companies, or credit reference agencies at least, consider as highest in importance when assessing risk, and it named Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The long list included all the usually expected things like payment , activity, transaction history, defaults and debts etc. A long list of the 36 things considered the most important (by the summariser rather than the firms). Nothing about identity, but they are assuming it is you and in any event you'll be held responsible for what that data says about 'you'.

Is that YOU or anyone pretending to be you?
Will we see identity thieves opening new accounts and building up the victim's credit rating to enable a bigger fraud?
There is a long list of things which can inconvenience you if your identity has been compromised.

I assume that with identity theft at astounding levels that the quality (and value) of the information held by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must be fast diminishing. Will we all have poor credit ratings eventually?

At the current rate, identities are being 'ruined' faster than they are being 'fixed' and eventually we will all have bad credit ratings as a result of identity theft fraud. Will that leave criminals no other option than to improve our credit ratings in order to profit?

I do wonder about the real value of all that data being accumulated by the agencies, and that it may not reflect the greatest risks and there is no way to know how much of their data is reliable. It's a moot point when other (economic) factors have a greater influence over whether a debt is likely to be repaid.

Perhaps some data on how many consumers have actually checked their own credit files for inaccuracies and fraud - might help form a conclusion, but then we can hardly be sure it was the 'real' person checking and not an identity thief measuring up their next potential victim, can we? Consumers are also probably less likely to check if they get their loans approved.

I had what I hope is a bizarre thought about online account aggregation sites being an ideal way for identity thieves to keep track of their potential victims' accounts. All they need is your information and maybe the easy to get PIN don't they? Aren't the services generally anonymous? (so the providers can sell your 'anonymous' financial data to market researchers - no doubt without IP information). Could someone be monitoring YOUR financials right now?

I'll finish with googles plan to link your credit rating with your browser - so you only see adverts for products you can afford to buy or perhaps get reamed slightly more on the price you are likely to be willing/able to pay. I suppose it might become a status thing, the richer the browser owner the more free content and better quality service.

I think I'll save the google browser credit rating for discussion tomorow.

Meanwhile, don't you ratings companies get all moody. We don't want a poor standard of service like some other ratings companies recently.

No doubt Mr Bernanke will have his id theft problem fixed up very quickly but it isn't always the case for the rest of the victims.

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Comments: (1)

Alexander De Lange
Alexander De Lange - Aurelia Financial Consultants cc - Johannesburg 03 September, 2009, 05:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Dean: I'll make sure not to miss tomorow's one, should be good!

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