Credit Score Transparency Urged

Schumer: Consumer Must See Estimates on Meds Use, Income
Credit Score Transparency Urged
A United States senator on Monday asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into a new practice in which credit agencies keep from consumers estimates of individuals' personal information such as medication use and personal income.

"Consumers have a right to know exactly what personal information is being collected on them, attached to them and sold to third parties, particularly when it can impact the price they pay for services, insurance or ability to borrow," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "Medication use and personal income are highly sensitive pieces of personal information, and if companies are out there collecting this information and attaching predictive scores to consumers in these areas, then consumers have a right to know about it and see the information themselves."

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires consumer credit scores used by banks, credit-card companies and other lenders to be made available to consumers on request, and obliges businesses to tell a consumer when they use information from that person's credit report for business decisions. That's not necessarily the case with some of the new scores, such as Medication Adherence Scores and Income Insight Scores, Schumer said. "The decision not to release information on other so-called scores, like medication use, clearly runs counter to the intent of this law," he said.

Writing to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Schumer said the development and use of these new scores are not regulated under current law. "Consumer reporting agencies should not be allowed to do an end run around hard-fought rules designed to ensure the accuracy of information and protection of consumers," Schumer wrote.

The senator said if FTC rules don't cover these new scores, then he'd work with Leibowitz to craft consumer-protection legislation.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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