Online indiscretion may come back to haunt you – financially

The Chicago Tribune points out that indiscreet use of social media may have a direct and immediate effect on your credit rating.

“If you look at how many times a person says ‘wasted’ in their (Facebook) profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt,” FICO chief executive Will Lansing told the Financial Times newspaper.

Creepy? Indeed. But hardly surprising when you take a step back and consider all the ways big data searches have been creeping into our daily lives and seemingly invading our privacy.

. . .

Tapping Facebook to determine the credit quality of young borrowers — or anyone for that matter — is just another step in this nothing-is-private-anymore process.

“These posts can come back to haunt you,” said Bill Hardekopf, publisher of the credit card information website.

There’s more at the link.

The more of your life you put online where everyone can see it, the more everyone will use it.  Some of those uses may not be to your liking;  and you may pay for some of your more indiscreet postings for years, even decades, to come.  Food for thought . . . and yet another reason to stay away from Facebook and similar sites!


EDITED TO ADD:  Read Stuart Garfath’s comment to this post.  See how much he was able to find out about his granddaughter just by surfing her social media postings . . . and then ask yourself how much information you’re putting out there about yourself, free for the taking to anyone who wants it (including stalkers and those who may have other less-than-honorable motives), not to mention a credit bureau.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?


  1. Peter,
    I served in the RAAF from 1970-1991, the latter half of my time was coalface hands-on Sigint, Opint and Comint, Watkins-Johnson, RACAL, and PRC-(insert your own digits) were my closest workmates, both here in Australia and at Little Sai Wan, on the island part of Hong Kong.
    That was centuries ago, I've left all that in my previous life, where it belongs.
    I told you that,- to tell you this, which no doubt you will be very aware of.
    If during the course of a piss-up, (booze up), at any nightclub in Wanchai, I had said to any of my equally inebriated workmates or bosses, that in the near future, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media as we know them today, would exist, there would have been stunned silence after my last words.
    Within five minutes of those words, or immediately after finishing my last beer, I would have been quickly put into a cab to take me home, as I clearly had lost my drunken mind,- NO-ONE would be stupid enough to believe that something like that could or would exist!, let alone people be on it.
    Were I in the job today, modern Social Media is my first 'stop', its Cornucopia of intel is a wish beyond my wildest dreams!.
    I repeatedly keep telling all my family, but they totally dismiss my words, particularly the Grandkids.
    An example.
    I typed my 14 year old Granddaughters first and last names onto the net.
    I do not know any of her passwords, none at all.
    In one four hour session, I got the following info.
    Her school, favourite Boy Bands, favourite books – past and present, her and her friends after school activities, times and locations and who she hangs out with, home street name, description of house, though no number, when Dad's car is in driveway, therefore indicating when he is at home, two car family, one car garage.
    Her bedroom décor, single window placement on ground floor,(no screen or bars of any kind), colour of bedroom light, what design of pyjamas she wears, and how she has decorated her bedroom.
    Everything of the last nine lines I got from observing her Skype background images, as she leaves the screen to do stuff in her bedroom, so giving comprehensive access to her surroundings.
    Yet she tells me she is careful, even after I tell her what I have said here.
    I can only do so much.

  2. What do you call that job where you pretend to be a bank robber or something to test the target's security? (you give the money back with a report etc)

    Maybe there's something for that with people and their lives… "Parents hire me! I'll scare your kids into not being so forthcoming!" (ok, the tagline needs work)

    SERIOUSLY though, for those who REALLY want to get into hiding info: the Paranoid's Bible.

    Curious how effective it is? See how much info you can find about the author. 😉

  3. Nate what you are talking about is called red teaming. It is used to test the security or response of various locations and organizations. As you pointed out banks use it as do governments and other high security groups.

  4. Peter,
    I neglected to mention a rather important point about my post.
    As this particular Granddaughter's Parents are divorced, she has to, by law, spend equal time at each house, two weeks at a time, the houses are about 35-40 miles apart.
    I have seen her bedroom at her Fathers house, but as for her Mothers house, I have NEVER been further than the front passenger seat of her Fathers car, as we wait outside on the road to pick her up for her time with her Father.
    I couldn't even tell you what type of window, or coverings it has, as it is at the back of her Mothers house.
    Finally, why do I seem to pointedly 'go on' about her bedroom?, because she, like many of her generation virtually live in the bloody thing!, it's her alternate universe!.
    Just wanted to clear up that little bit.

  5. You are very right – be careful what you share or post online!
    It surprises me how many people have photos and posts that are public on Facebook, etc – on my account, the only public info is my profile picture (because I can't make it private); my current one was taken thousands of miles from home.
    I don't get the idea of Twitter where you tell anybody who wants to know what you are doing – the only place it makes sense to me is for advertising purposes: new products, movie releases, etc.
    I have NO online pictures of guns, hunting, my house, or other identifiable or potentially controversial issues. I 'accidentally' forgot the change my town when I moved a couple of years ago.
    I consider my online profile to be the most anyone should share, and a good argument can eb made to share MUCH less!

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