Important Clarity Regarding The Work Number, a Service of Equifax Workforce Solutions
MSNBC published an article about The Work Number, a service of Equifax Workforce Solutions on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Many of the points within this article were misleading and inflammatory. As a result, readers may have drawn conclusions that are not fact-based. Equifax stands by our outstanding expertise, services and integrity, and the important role all of this plays in the verification industry.
The story appeared in a consumer column and implied that The Work Number service provides income information to debt collection agencies. To be very clear, we do not permit debt collectors to access income information. The Work Number service from Equifax Workforce Solutions operates under strict guidelines outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As such, we only share verifications of employment and income to clients that have a valid permissible purpose as outlined in §604 of the FCRA. To further ensure employees are aware of how their data is used, we also require consumer consent for verifications of income. For more information on permissible uses of consumer reports permitted by FCRA, please refer to §604 on the following link: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf.
The added layer of security provided by consumer consent is the foundation for our flagship verification service which has, over the years, earned its pristine reputation with both employees and employers alike. In other words, by requiring consumer consent to release income information, we take an extra step to help ensure employee privacy. Our process protects individuals from the unscrupulous practices outlined in today’s article.
Our primary concern at this time is correcting the misinformation provided in today’s column. Here are some key facts regarding The Work Number and the driving force of consumer consent:
- Equifax Workforce Solutions through its service, The Work Number, does not permit debt collectors to access salary/pay-rate/income information.
- At the time of a loan application, a consumer grants the lender permission to verify employment and/or income as part of the loan application process.
- As allowed under the FCRA, should the consumer default on their account, the lender may assign a debt collector who can verify only employment information (not salary) in which to collect on the account.
- Information can only be provided to debt collectors who have been verified through a detailed credentialing process and they must have a permissible purpose to request employment information.
- Employment and income data we receive from our Employer clients remains separate and distinct from the data used for credit purposes by our parent company, Equifax.
- The Work Number is fully compliant with FCRA guidelines which are designed to protect consumers, and by default, employees.
- Finally, we do provide salary/income information to lenders such as mortgage companies, consumer credit companies, auto finance companies as allowed by the FCRA. However,
consumers must grant the lender consent to access the information from The Work Number. Again, we do not provide salary/income/pay rate information to debt collectors.
Despite what MSNBC reported today, our verification service protects all those who utilize our service, including employers and employees. We thank you for your continued business.
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Equifax Workforce Solutions
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