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Future of Retail

Credit Reporting Agencies Monitoring Social Media Users

Equifax, Experian, Intuit, and PayPal have announced pilot projects which will data-mine public social media posts to verify credit applicants' identities and search for cases of fraud.

New projects from some of the biggest names in credit reporting will transform users' social media activity into raw data for credit trustworthiness analysis. Equifax, Experian, PayPal, and Intuit are all quietly experimenting with pilots that apply algorithms to public Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter content to verify personal identities and assess credit. Writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, Danielle Kucera noted that creditors are primarily interested in raw data from social media related to personal activity.

"We are investing a lot in how can we use unstructured data that is sitting out there in social media that can help us understand a little more about identity," Equifax's Rajib Roy told Businessweek. The data is used to verify the identities of people taking out credit. For instance, agencies could check the Facebook profiles of people claiming to have been born in America, but who have grammar characteristics typical of someone from another country.