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Spokeo, BeenVerified, LexisNexis – How Reliable Are These Information Brokering Services?

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(Going into our tenth year now of publication, the Beacon Bulletin will shortly be bringing our readers much more real time information in an updated format. Wait for it!  You’ll see changes in the coming weeks that will lead to a more comprehensive weekly newsletter that will include timely information such as new regulations that will affect us in the immediate future, new field-related gear that will invariably result in better capture of evidence  and all sorts of good stuff like that.  I’m going to start this upgrade with a timely tip on cashless tolls in the NYC area at the bottom of this week’s Beacon Bulletin. Enjoy the read.)

It seems that very time you log on now, there is a new information brokering service that promises to reveal all sorts of private information that will solve your curiosity about your new boyfriend, your nanny or the new boss.

Before you determine the validity and timeliness of the information you receive on these sites, let’s explore how personal information is publicly collected and disseminated.

First, let me dispel the notion that you can get deeply unique identifying data such as full, untruncated Social Security numbers via any public information broker such as Spokeo, BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate, LocatePlus, etc.

That’s because with the introduction of the Grimm-Bliley-Leach Bill in 1995, there are technically only 12 permissible purposes (and a vague No. 13 for Other which basically means the feds) that will allow an investigator or other legal/law/investigative field specialists to obtain this type of private information.

Permissible Purposes
Excerpt from the GLB (Gramm-Leach-Biley Act)Except for the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b), nothing in this title shall be construed to modify, limit, or supersede the operation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and no inference shall be drawn on the basis of the provisions of this title regarding whether information is transaction or experience information under section 603 of such Act.What are permissible purposes?1. Legitimate Business Transaction (FCRA)

1. Consumer initiated.

A business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.

2. Collection/Extension of Credit (FCRA)

In connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

3. Employment Purposes (FCRA) 
In connection with a consumer’s employment. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

4. Consumer Insurance (FCRA)

In connection with the underwriting of insurance involving a consumer. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

5. Government License or Benefit (FCRA)

In connection with a determination of the consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant’s financial responsibility or status.

6. Response to a Court Order (FCRA)

In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.

7. Written Instruction by a Consumer (FCRA)

In accordance with the written instructions of a consumer.

8. Investor, Servicer, or Current Insurer (FCRA)

In connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with an existing credit obligation for a consumer.

9. Child Support Enforcement (FCRA)

In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency) or to set a child support award.

10. Law Enforcement (FCRA)

For use by any Law Enforcement Agency, or any officer, employee, or agent of such agency in carrying out its official duties with proper authorization.

11. Fraud Detection/Prevention (Non-FCRA)

For use to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud, unauthorized transactions, claims, or other liability.

12. Civil or Criminal Investigation (FCRA)

13, Other (Official, law enforcement)

 

As you can see, nowhere in that list is “The desire to know”.  So conclude that the data that you can obtain from info brokers is not deep knowledge or up to the minute.

Information brokering sites like Spokeo, BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate,LocatePlus, etc. collect and then offer – for a fee – publicly available data from such entities as Town, Village or City Clerk offices, local DMVs, tax registrars, utility companies, subscriptions and credit reporting agencies.  Also, lately they have begun to add in social media data such as email addresses and sites to which you are registered (so be careful, SingleSueInSyosset, if you are not).  It takes time for all of this data to process and be attached to the correct person so the lag time to, let;s say, your new address appearing in these public records is generally anywhere from eight to eighteen months and possibly longer.

So if you really need deep information and have a legitimate purpose, hire a recommended private investigator,

IN THE NEWS: CASHLESS TOLLING IS COMING TO NYC

Cashless tolling is coming to the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnels in January, and to all MTA bridges by the end of 2017. That means nobody will have to stop, weave or merge into a different lane at the toll plaza ever again. Since you already have E-ZPass, you can keep paying your tolls as usual. Just take a moment to make sure:

  1. Your E-ZPass tag is mounted properly – so it can be read it and give you a 30–50% discount every time
  2. Your license plate is registered to your E-ZPass account accurately – to make sure you avoid getting toll bills in the mail

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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