Two top credit-analytics companies are implementing an unconventional way to determine people’s credit scores. Instead of traditional analyzing methods like credit cards, loans and bills, these companies are beginning to look at your Facebook profile.
Why are companies doing this? Money, of course. Banks are afraid they’re losing potential customers by not providing loans to everyone who may be qualified. Some of these people are young or new to the country, and while they might be responsible people capable of paying their bills on time, the banks don’t know they exist because their lack of credit history. That’s where the Facebook snooping comes in.
“We can now score the previously unscoreable,” Jim Wehmann, an executive vice president at Fico, told Financial Times.
While that may be beneficial to the banks, it might not feel so good to the users whose profiles are being observed. Not only are these companies capable of spying on public profiles, but they can glean information from them to a disturbingly precise degree.
“If you look at how many times a person says ‘wasted’ in their profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt,” said Will Lansing, chief executive at Fico. “It’s not much, but it’s more than zero.”
Of course, the best way to prevent any kind of prying eye is to simply lock down your profile. But it’s still mighty creepy that these corporate giants are ready and willing to observe our behavior.