Equifax-owned company sells salary information
Legal under Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines
An Equifax-owned company has assembled a powerful database of personal information, including millions of employment and salary records, which can be sold to debt collectors and financial service companies.
The company, The Work Number, covers records for more than one-third of U.S. adults.
"This is the world we live in where nothing of course is sacred anymore. It is a practice. It's not illegal," said Titus Pittman of Genesis Financial Partners in Jacksonville.
Pittman admits it might not be illegal, but that doesn't mean you should not be concerned about what information is available about you.
The website contains information like week-by-week paycheck information dating back years for many people, as well as other kinds of HR information, such as health care providers, whether someone has dental insurance and if they've ever filed an unemployment claim.
Many U.S. businesses let Equifax tap directly into their data so the credit bureau can always have the latest employment information. They actually pay Equifax for the privilege of giving away their employees' personal information.
Many businesses who do this are in the Fortune 500. Government agencies and schools also work with The Work Number.
Pittman wants to make sure everyone is aware what information is online about them.
"I would ask each person to reach out to their human resource department to see if that is a practice that is employed by their current employer," said Pittman.
If you find out your salary information is not available online, inform your employer that you have concerns with that type of information being shared.
But for more than one-third of the U.S. working population, their information is available through The Work Number and Pittman said there's not much they can do about it.
"Unfortunately there's no way to change it if its out there on a public website however I would look at credit websites and actually write to them and request not to have your public info or salary and public and only those things," said Pittman.
Equifax argues it's compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act Guidelines, and thousands of U.S businesses willingly provide the information.
Equifax also assures customers that they must give a personal authorization for someone to gain access to The Work Number database.
To see what information The Work Number has about you, visit TheWorkNumber.com
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