Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Report: Your Salary Data May Be For Sale

Fill out an application for a loan, and your wage history may go places you didn't expect.
Joe Raedle
/
Getty Images
Fill out an application for a loan, and your wage history may go places you didn't expect.

If you've earned a paycheck in recent years, you'll probably want want to know about this:

The Equifax credit reporting agency, NBC News reports, has collected 190 million employment and salary records on about one-third of U.S. adults and has sold some of the information "to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities."

Robert Mather, who runs a small employment background company named Pre-Employ.com, tells the network that "it's the biggest privacy breach in our time, and it's legal and no one knows it's going on. ... It's like a secret CIA."

In an email to NBC News, Equifax says it complies with Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines, that the companies buying the information "must have a permissible purpose" and that consumers give the companies the OK to get the data when they apply for credit. Presumably, the OK is in the fine print.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
WESA invites you to participate in an audience survey. We’re interested in how you use WESA and what you think of our services. Your responses will help us shape what you hear and read from WESA in the year to come. This is an anonymous survey; it takes about seven minutes to complete and there are several opportunities to provide comments and suggestions. You can take the survey through Tuesday 12/6.