Buyer beware: Lenders may check your Facebook page
NEW YORK – Jan. 10, 2014 – Some lending companies reportedly use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to vet mortgage applicants before agreeing to issue them a loan.
Lenders are checking to see if applicants list the same job information on their loan applications as they do on LinkedIn, whether they revealed a job termination on Facebook, and even searching for negative reviews on eBay, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Fair Isaac Corp., which provides credit scoring, is one company that says it may one day add social media into its scoring system.
“There could come a time where certain social media could be predictive, and we’re looking at that – but it isn’t yet,” Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer-credit specialist at FICO, told the Journal.
A San Francisco company known as LendUp asks applicants to voluntarily share their Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well as information from other social networking accounts, and the company uses it to gauge borrowers’ risk and verify identities.
“It’s one of the tools we use to do underwriting,” says Sasha Orloff, co-founder and chief executive at LendUp. “Do you have 4,000 friends but none are that close, or do you have 30 people but they’re very close? There are ways to measure how engaged and how strong your community ties are.”
But the social media check-ups have some consumer groups and regulators alarmed. They worry that it will result in some applicants being unfairly denied credit or given a higher interest rate.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told the Journal that it is fully aware that some businesses are exploring using social media to inform their credit decisions, but it has not issued any policies against it.
Source: “Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 8, 2014)
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