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Tell HN: Salary data is for sale
1690 points by bsilvereagle 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 762 comments
Equifax is selling salary data as part of an "employment verification solution":

https://theworknumber.com/

You can view a copy of your report here:

https://employees.theworknumber.com/

It will contain:

* Previous annual salary

* Previous paycheck amounts

* Previous addresses

* Who has accessed the report in the past 24 months

From their website, this data may be able to be removed via CCPA:

> Employee data is exempt from the CCPA until January 1, 2022.

https://employees.theworknumber.com/california-consumer-priv...




NOTE: It is possible to freeze access to your employment data here: https://employees.theworknumber.com/employee-data-freeze

That being said, it doesn't stop employers from continuing to hand Equifax your data on a gold platter, and therefore does nothing to protect you from the inevitable data breach that will result in Equifax being required to give everyone affected $0.36 or one year of free credit monitoring.


Wow placing a freeze requires filling out a PDF form, attaching a scan of your ID, and then sending it in over email, mail, or fax. The PDF lacks built in form fields you can type in. The extra friction is probably a feature: https://assets.equifax.com/wfs/theworknumber/assets/twn_Empl... (the exif data on that PDF shows the name of the employee that created it and that they used Word 2010...)

The Equifax CCPA request process on the other hand is very smooth and automated. Though doesn't seem like it's including Work Number information: https://myprivacy.equifax.com/


Shameless plug [1] that hopefully provides value: simplePDF.eu [2] will allow you to fill it in more easily (the fields are already set)

[1] It's a side-project of mine

[2] https://www.simplepdf.eu/editor?open=https://assets.equifax....


Just making sure, the site will NOT save the data that I entered in the PDF? Thank you for sharing your side-project!


You’re welcome!

Indeed, the website will NOT save the data that you entered in the PDF.

In fact neither the data you enter nor the PDF that gets loaded is ever seen by my server: everything happens locally (including the actual PDF generation) [1]

Privacy is one of the key distinctive feature of simplePDF

The only thing that is saved is a fingerprint of the document that allows to match the field types and their respective positions (x,y, type of field, width, height…)

If you want to see it in action:

1. Download the Equifax form on your computer

2. Navigate here https://simplePDF.eu/editor

3. Load the PDF from your computer

4. Because the document fingerprint is “known”, the field types and positions are automatically retrieved from the server

[1] You may notice that after a browser refresh the data you entered is still there: that’s because it’s saved locally in the local storage of your web browser

Unrelated: some people have reported that the save button is not displayed in some cases: trying refreshing the page – I’ll work on a fix as soon as possible


This isn't working quite right for me (Firefox on Windows). The SSN field is a single text box and the numbers don't line up with the boxes on the form. I can pad with a single space, but additional spaces don't increase the padding.

https://imgur.com/NXrZGaS


Thumbs up for https://www.simplepdf.eu! Just generated the Equifax form.

Neat! How do I save in the filled out PDF??


There should be an EDIT and SAVE button on the right side if you’re on a computer and at the top if you’re on mobile.

If you can’t see either, this is most definitely a bug!

Could you try refreshing the page to see if it helps?


Thanks. The sidebar did not load the first time. But worked the second time. This is on iPad Pro 12.9 inches.


>The extra friction is probably a feature: https://assets.equifax.com/wfs/theworknumber/assets/twn_Empl... (the exif data on that PDF shows the name of the employee that created it and that they used Word 2010...)

I don't get it. how is "PDF shows the name of the employee that created it and that they used Word 2010" relevant to the claim that "extra friction is probably a feature"?


Just speculating here, but I wonder if their point is that they went out of their way to create a PDF that is as unusable as possible, and that Word 2010 is somehow required to create such a PDF.

A few simpler explanations:

- Equifax IT hasn't rolled out modern O365 apps

- The form was created a long time ago, and has not been updated

Regardless of the exif data, I do believe that friction is absolutely a feature in this process, but I also think the Word 2010 angle is tenuous at best.


I've worked on these kinds of systems, but not this one explicitly. There is always a discussion about how to make it(legally) more difficult for users to do something you don't want them to do. It's not paranoia, it's reality.


Probably it's buried in a ticket deep in the feature requests lists and has zero potential revenue impact (or negative) so it isn't prioritized.


No angle or point with that comment. Just interesting! I like looking at exif data. And I think there should be more awareness around what it often leaks.


And then they have all of that as well ready to be breached!


When I submit the myprivacy.equifax.com validation it hangs at "Processing..." indefinitely. #AbolishCreditAgencies


Credit, bank checking (ChexSystems), and personal information aggregators like Lexis Nexis and Thomson Reuters Clear ought to be abolished or curbed indeed. I hate to bring trans politics into this. I'm sure that's the last thing anybody wants to hear about right now. However we are a class of people whose sexuality can be unfairly identified by these databases.


> I hate to bring trans politics into this. I'm sure that's the last thing anybody wants to hear about right now.

It bothers me sometimes if other people do that, it does not bother me at all if actual trans people want to talk about it. Thank you for sharing, that angle didn't occur to me.


> I hate to bring trans politics into this. I'm sure that's the last thing anybody wants to hear about right now.

I'm glad you did, as I hadn't thought about that since it isn't part of my day-to-day experience.


Hopefully TransUnion is more respectful of your rights.


Is the issue 'just' that they misgender trans people? That alone is already shitty of course. Or is the issue also that it makes later 'verification' by these agencies more difficult if the recorded gender does not match the apparent gender of the person?


The issue is that they have a field for prior names/AKA/aliases, and it's typically immutable. You can watch a person's face change as they read the report.


Whose face to you mean? The person being deadnamed, or the person reading the list of names and realizing the person opposite them is trans?

It seems to me that, for the purposes of understanding your legal history it makes sense to keep track of someone's deadname at such an agency. If someone accrued massive debt (or massive positive credit) under their deadname, then that still reflects on them. It sucks to have it recorded that one is trans, or to hear a deadname, but I don't see how it can be avoided.


Like the polite banker opening a checking account for me, or please see my other reply with anecdotes. It does also hurt for me to see that deadname and my thanks for knowing that term.

It is not one's legal history. It's a monster of a private industry trying to justify its own existence, which the world turned without for the longest time. There are many other ways that these reports have harmed non-trans people with false or outdated information.

If someone accrues massive debt, that's the bank's problem, to recover in collections, the court or with the sheriff, and not by giving someone a virtual scarlet letter. Maybe they shouldn't play this massive game of easy, crippling credit, points and cashback rewards. As to massive positive credit, I couldn't care less whether I have their favor.


> Like the banker opening a checking account for me who commented "OK, we can move past that," or please see my other reply with anecdotes. It also hurts for me to see that deadname and my thanks for knowing that term.

I don't see what the issue is. The fact that you previously used that name is a piece of factual information about you. Should anyone be allowed to suppress factual information about themselves because they're uncomfortable with it? eg. "10 years ago I racked up enormous amounts of debt. I'm shameful of that. Being reminded of that hurts me. I would like that information to be expunged."

>There are many other ways that these reports have harmed non-transgender people with false, misleading or outdated information.

This isn't really a convincing argument. You can make the same argument for the internet, ie. "there are many other ways that the internet has harmed non-transgender people with false, misleading or outdated information, we should ban it". What about the advantages? ie. banks being able to accurately assess risk, and reliable borrowers not having to pay for the credit risk of unreliable borrowers?

>If someone accrues massive debt, that's the bank's problem, to recover in collections, the court or with the sheriff, and not by giving someone a virtual scarlet letter.

If someone accrues massive debt and refuses to pay it, don't you think it's fair for the lender to tell other people of the experience?


Should anyone be allowed to suppress factual information about themselves because they're uncomfortable with it? eg. "10 years ago I racked up enormous amounts of debt. I'm shameful of that. Being reminded of that hurts me. I would like that information to be expunged."

Actually yes, given sufficient elapsed time. People change a lot over ten years.


> Should anyone be allowed to suppress factual information about themselves because they're uncomfortable with it?

Just because it's factual that I caught gonorrhoea from a prostitute while on holiday in Thailand, doesn't mean Equifax has a right to tell my boss, my landlord, and half a dozen russian hackers about it.


>Just because it's factual that I caught gonorrhoea from a prostitute while on holiday in Thailand

that seems to be an entirely different issue because the information is privileged/confidential. For the purposes of this argument I'll concede that information obtained under confidence shouldn't be able to be disseminated. That said, I can't really imagine "you didn't pay your debts" to be in the same category of secrecy as "caught gonorrhoea from a prostitute". That's even more true for something as public as your name.


Debt is created by the lender to make a profit. Saying that somebody's credit history is inherently public is the same as saying their work performance history is inherently public. Nobody is forcing lenders to make loans, quite the opposite; in fact there is a great deal of statutory law preventing predatory lenders (ie deliberately lending to those who can't repay) and the megabanks addiction to junk like car loans is also evidence of the rapacious appetite for lending.

Thus, credit history is for the lenders and by the lenders, all with the purpose of maximizing revenue for the lenders. How one concludes that permanent credit history is some burden all citizenry has to bear for their lifetime is beyond me.


I have a few aliases in there from when someone stole my identity. They refuse to remove them.


If this helps, me and my team use LX and some product from TR and for our purposes sex by itself is not a strong driver for anything. That said, I absolutely agree with your initial statement. There is way too much information available just from those two sources and those should be restricted as much as possible.

As other users noted, I have personally zero issue when it is an individual case ( my personal misgivings start somewhere where it moves to a political wedge issue ).


> However we are a class of people whose sexuality can be unfairly identified by these databases.

What do you mean, that you go through life as a woman but that the DB says you were born as a man (for example) ?


Out of curiosity, what happens if you use a free credit card e.g Barclays? Does living in the EU zone protect you? Do they have access to your bank account information?


I'm not familiar with the Barclay card. MasterCard has a service called True Name that lets you put whatever you want on your card. It's proprietary but I don't know if they keep it between the two of you. European countries have much stronger privacy protections, though they might have social security numbers which contain sex as an even/odd digit, and it's difficult to change. Checking account numbers are listed in these systems. Banks guard client account line items closely, although in the US the government has blanket access without a warrant.


In Norway tax return and salary is a public information available to everyone, handled by the government.


That’s not precise. Gross income after deductions and taxes paid is public information, salary is not.


As a US citizen living in the EU. They don’t give two fucks where you live and will happily tell anyone anything that has your social security number. I’ve thought about trying to complain to them about the GDPR… but anyway, if you have a non-US card, the US credit checks won’t register it because the non-US banks don’t report it, even though they know you’re a US citizen. We have a non-US Mastercard and Amex, and they aren’t on our US credit reports. In fact, we no longer have any US debt but our credit scores are less than 500 for paying it all off. It may literally be impossible to move back and have the same quality of life we did when we moved away. Might just stay here forever.


> However we are a class of people whose sexuality can be unfairly identified by these databases.

Good perspective and thanks for sharing it. I am curious about your choice of words though. You said "sexuality" and not "gender identity". Is there some reason why? I've always thought of the term sexuality to be how you feel about others. Or is that what you meant here?


Gender identity falls under the umbrella of sexuality. I use less-polite terms to remind people that it's the most excruciatingly private details of my life on some bullshit report. One time while applying for an apartment, a boomer broker sarcastically exclaimed, "Well, THAT'S a valid life choice!" to me. Last year I encountered a professional whose mind was blown by this information and asked me if I've had surgery. It's wrong that this is at the mercy of a newish industry that exists to track individuals' merit in make-believe points.


I used to work at Lexis Nexis and I agree since I could see first hand how much personal data and information they have on individuals.

They also used theworknumber funny enough for any "employment verification" etc, pretty sure they have a partnership.


Trans politics are you politics. Share you politics - they’re important and interesting. :)


>I hate to bring trans politics into this. I'm sure that's the last thing anybody wants to hear about right now.

You're right. Too bad it didn't stop you from doing it anyway.


You can't attack other users like that here, and we ban accounts that do it, so please don't do it again.

Also: it looks like your account has been using HN primarily for ideological battle. We also ban accounts that do that, regardless of what they're battling for, because it destroys the curious conversation this site is supposed to be for. I'm not going to ban you right now because you've also posted good things, but we need you to be aware of this rule and stop that pattern. More explanation here: https://hn.algolia.com/?sort=byDate&dateRange=all&type=comme....

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I just restated what the user themselves admitted. I don't believe that qualifies as an attack.

Ideological debates are more likely to get someone to login to respond anyway. And throwaway accounts exist because holding a controversial opinion gets you downvoted automatically. If your intention is to shut down any kind of debate, curious conversation just won't exist here at all.


The intention is not to "shut down any kind of debate". This is about comment quality. Your comment was obviously below the bar—it was rude, personal, and added zero information. Please don't post like that here—we're trying for a different kind of conversation.

Btw, repeating someone else's self-deprecating remark can absolutely be a form of personal attack; especially if you then pile on, as your comment did. That's not nice at all.


The current oligopoly of the big three credit bureaus is a travesty and needs substantial reform.

That being said, abolishing the concept of a consumer credit report entirely is a terrible idea. It is a fact that different people simply present different risks to a lender in their likelihood of default. Having actual data about a person's previous repayment history is extremely predictive of their future default probability (with proper ML applied).

If you remove the ability to use data about that actual person's previous behavior then instead lenders will simply not provide credit or financial services to large proportions of the population whom might be credit worthy as they would be unable to determine if they are creditworthy.

Again, I'm not arguing for the status quo. A lot of reform is needed. But to ignore the reality of how credit underwriting works is foolish. One of the reasons that many developing countries don't have financial services for their populations to access debt is because they don't have sufficient data to do credit underwriting.

And debt is a critical tool to enable investment in the present. Used wisely, debt enables a person to borrow from the future to invest in the present, e.g. buying a car so they can commute to a nearby city and earn a higher salary.


The U.S. financial system worked just fine before credit scores became a thing in 1989.


Credit scores were invented in the 1950s. I’d estimate that the US financial system has improved substantially since then, in both absolute and relative terms.

“In 1956, engineer Bill Fair teamed up with mathematician Earl Isaac to create Fair, Isaac and Company, with the goal of creating a standardized, impartial credit scoring system. Within two years, they had begun selling their first credit scoring system.”

You might recognize the names Fair and Isaac as the F and I in FICO.

https://www.opploans.com/oppu/articles/a-brief-history-of-cr...


Yes, but probably by being much more conservative and relying on the branch managers to have a close working relationship, or long standing banking relationship with the people seeking credit.

When that gets more automated - i.e. giving credit to somebody you've never met, then a centralized automated system for verifying trustworthiness is also needed to compensate.

It may even have the net effect of allowing some people to get credit that never could before, so swings and roundabouts I guess.


Nothing is stopping anyone from lending, afaik, on other basises. Basees? Ba...sis.


Biases I'd say


No, it didn't, it worked that WASP attendees of the bank manager's church got good rates and anyone born on the wrong side of town got turned away.


Bank of America was founded in 1904 -- well before credit scores became a thing -- to provide banking services to Italian-Americans, who could not usually obtain service from other banks due to ethnic discrimination.


It's also worth noting that banks couldn't operate across state lines until sometime in the 80s, so it wasn't unusual to see a lot of different smaller banks.


Which is a good example of why you need financial systems to eliminate ethnic and religious biases in lending.


This comment outs you as someone who thinks in Twitter/Reddit memes.


>That being said, abolishing the concept of a consumer credit report entirely is a terrible idea. It is a fact that different people simply present different risks to a lender in their likelihood of default.

And any bank will ascertain this from their forms when applying for a loan well before they do any kind of credit check on you.

Also, YOU should control your credit history. You can give it to a lender if you wish to prove your credit worthiness. They shouldn't be allowed to give it to anyone else. Organizations should not be allowed to track it unsolicited.


> Used wisely

When does that ever happen? Lending and borrowing are always at the root of every economic crisis. National debt of countries are already astronomically large and will only keep growing.

Just abolish credit as well. If it means the economy will grow slower, so be it.


>If it means the economy will grow slower, so be it.

This is easy for someone to say who already lives a comfortable life.

Credit is simply a more efficient use of wealth. Without credit, money stored is money that is unused, and thus money denied to everyone else. Everyone is poorer as a result because you have millions of people willing to exchange their goods and services but are blocked because they lack a medium of exchange that is being hoarded by the wealthy.


And with credit, money lent out is money that doesn't actually exist until made real by repayment which must come from extracting value from this planet at ever increasing unsustainable rates, and there's always the risk it won't ever be realized at all in case of defaults. Credit creates money out of nowhere, effectively imposing a tax on everyone and making them poorer so that banks can extract profits. The massive amounts of debt people go into effectively enslaves them forever. Nowhere is this clearer than the student loans scam which not only lures unsuspecting victims into signing up for hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt they might not ever be able to pay off but also drives up the price of tuition and lowers academic integrity precisely because it's trillions of easy government money being injected into the economy.

Efficient use of capital? That's exactly what the banks and investment firms said about stuff like highly leveraged derivatives and the CDOs and all the stuff that caused the 2008 crisis. Bad loans was literally the source of it all. We all know who paid the price for all that and who got to keep their fortunes.


Spoken like someone who has already benefited from past growth. “Stop the economy! We have enough money already!”

There are people living in inprovised huts in the third world who would literally give a limb for more growth.


Who said anything about stopping the economy? It will keep going just fine.

I am a third worlder, by the way. My father taught me not to be indebted to anyone, a principle he himself holds to this day and a major reason for whatever prosperity my family managed to achieve.


Do you think we can remove all debt without stopping the economy? That’s simply not how business works.

IOU’s are the oil that grease the economic machine.

Personal debt, when used wisely, can supercharge a life. Buying that first car, a house, going to uni. It can change the trajectory of the person for the better. Debt-fueled investments like startups and property improvements are another example.

Shakespeare was no economist.


How could it not grease the economy? It's literally money conjured up from thin air. Would be weird if it didn't.

It's an illusion. Until loans get repaid they're just inflating the money supply. Can't get a job after college in order to pay $200k in student loans? Lost the job? People literally end up homeless or worse.

That's like saying gambling on futures with 100x leverage can supercharge a life. Yeah, I'll get rich alright if the market moves favorably to my position. Alternatively I'll get liquidated and lose everything.

> Buying that first car, a house, going to uni.

Debt is not necessary for any of that.


Debt is necessary to invest if you don’t have sufficient savings. To say that we can do away with debt is the opinion of someone who both:

- already has a good stash of resources, and

- is incapable of seeing the point of view of a poor person.

Also, all debt is very much not magic money. Most debt represents very real, hard value. Businesses routinely provide goods and services to each other with 90 or even 180 days to pay.

You’re confusing all debt with speculation and irresponsible borrowing.

If some Americans want to borrow $200k to study an arts degree, does that mean all debt is evil?

If somebody somewhere overeats, does this mean humanity should swear off calories?


> Debt is necessary to invest if you don’t have sufficient savings.

If you don't have savings, you accumulate. Much easier to do without a mountain of debt weighing you down. Seriously thought that was the accepted wisdom, especially if you're poor. Apparently not.

> Also, all debt is very much not magic money. Most debt represents very real, hard value. Businesses routinely provide goods and services to each other with 90 or even 180 days to pay.

And what happens when one of those persons or businesses goes bankrupt? All that very real, hard value just disappears. It goes away. Doesn't get paid. Defaults.

> You’re confusing all debt with speculation and irresponsible borrowing.

If you go into debt, you are speculating. That's a fact. You're betting that you're going to be able to pay later. Whoever is extending credit to you is taking a risk. Obviously that's a calculated gamble since any number of things could happen that make it impossible for you to pay. Absolutely no confusion here.


>And with credit, money lent out is money that doesn't actually exist until made real by repayment which must come from extracting value from this planet at ever increasing unsustainable rates.

You couldn't be more wrong here. Credit creates new money. The money doesn't get destroyed again until either the credit gets paid off or the lender defaults.

The Earth's resources don't magically spring into the air when someone takes a loan. If consumption is indeed unsustainable, it's because that's what people want. Industrialization is what's destroying the earth, people who lived in countries with bad economics like the Soviet Union wanted to industrialize just as much as capitalist nations, if not more so. They drained half the Aral Sea just to provide their textile factories with cotton. It just happened that they were so bad at industrializing that they polluted and consumed less. People caring about the environment is only possible in world with enough surplus to worry about it.

>Credit creates money out of nowhere, effectively imposing a tax on everyone and making them poorer so that banks can extract profits

Again, complete nonsense. Alice takes a loan for Bob to build a home. The value of the money created with the loan comes from the new home that Bob built. Banks aren't extracting profits from diluted money, they get paid for providing financial services. Sometimes, they offer financial services for bullshit, but just means that the government should implement better policy.


> You couldn't be more wrong here. Credit creates new money. The money doesn't get destroyed again until either the credit gets paid off or the lender defaults.

That is exactly what I said. This new money doesn't actually exist. It's backed by nothing until someone creates real value and repays the loan.

> The Earth's resources don't magically spring into the air when someone takes a loan.

Of course not. People work to extract as much value as possible. Exponential growth.

> If consumption is indeed unsustainable, it's because that's what people want.

Who doesn't want to grow expontentially? My whole point is it's not sustainable.

> Again, complete nonsense. Alice takes a loan for Bob to build a home. The value of the money created with the loan comes from the new home that Bob built. Banks aren't extracting profits from diluted money, they get paid for providing financial services.

Alice takes out a loan at the bank. Alice pays Bob for services. Bob deposits money at bank. That same money is loaned out again. Eventually it makes its way back to the bank again. And gets loaned out again. And on and on.

In this manner $100 easily turns into $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000. Fake money that doesn't exist until all of those loans are repaid in full. And in order to repay, things need to happen, businesses need to be started, value needs to be created, money needs to be made, the economy must grow exponentially, and in doing so it creates even more loans which creates even more fake money driving even more growth. If the music ever stops for any reason, it's all over.


>Abolish credit

Expand?

I and probably you are probably working in arrears for our employers. That is, we don't get paid until after the work is done. That is extending our employers a credit line. The same applies for rent, for utilities, for phone data, for taxes...

Credit is at the root of every economic crisis because credit is money.


Hell, taking items from a store's shelves up to their counter is, in a sense, the store extending you credit. Handing over cash so as for the cashier to open a glass case to retrieve an item, vice versa.

There are certain baseline levels of social trust that we tend to take for granted. Easy, too, to overlook that they are easily violated and not universal.


I get paid as soon as my work is done. Sometimes literally and in physical cash. I'm working on transitioning to getting paid for my time before people even enter my office.

Credit is money, but it shouldn't be. We allowed it to become money and it's the reason for so much of the insanity we face today.


Credit was a medium of exchange before cash existed.


So you will be indebted to your customers until their time is up.


I'm going to guess that either you already own your home and your car outright, or that you're renting something somewhere and don't own a car. Or you're wealthy to the point of being able to pay cash or make major purchases without having to save for a while.

In any case, you're already comfortable. You already have what you need. So it's easy to be against the things that would help people slightly less fortunate than you.

Credit is a necessity. For me to save up the money to buy the house I'm in today would literally take me 20 years, because not only would I need to be setting aside $2,000/month, but would also need to still be paying rent at wherever I was. Credit allows me to buy the house NOW and start building equity NOW. Yes, I acknowledge I'll spend a few extra thousand for the privilege, but it's worth it.

Same with a car. If I need a car to get to work, I can't save for 3+ years while paying for Lyft every day if I live too far from work to take a bike or live in a climate where riding a bike is excruciating.

That said, I concede that predatory lending exists. I don't think adjustable rate mortgages should have ever existed. Student loans were a good idea (Provide a way for any qualified person to attend college regardless of current financial status), but ended up with disastrous side effects (Tuition hikes to extract more money, reduced government investment into colleges since students are more able to foot the bill).

I also concede that some people are bad with money. They'll get loans they can't afford and buy everything on credit with no hope of paying it off. They rent things from Rent-A-Center, which is incredibly predatory.

But to argue for the abolishment of credit because some people suck at it is just throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It would absolutely destroy the middle class and kneecap upward mobility of the lower class.


> I'm going to guess that either you already own your home and your car outright

Partially correct.

Yes, I own my car. While I was in school my family bought the cheapest used vehicle there was so that I could go to classes. After I graduated, I continued using that car until I had made more than enough money to buy a new one. I have friends who took on massive amounts of debt in order to have luxurious vehicles right after graduation. I will never do something like that.

Yes, my family owns their homes. Both my parents worked jobs while renting an apartment until they had enough to buy the home I grew up in and in which they live in to this day. It took a lot of effort.

Yes, my education was fully paid for in advance. My parents prepared and planned for it since the day I was born. My father showed me his careful accounting on his ledger, entries dating back decades.

> Or you're wealthy to the point of being able to pay cash or make major purchases without having to save for a while.

Wealthy enough to pay cash? I guess. Without any planning and saving? No.

> Credit allows me to buy the house NOW and start building equity NOW.

What did you really buy? Fail to make your payments and see the true owners of your house take it away from you. None of it is real until the payments are done.

> Student loans were a good idea, but ended up with disastrous side effects

Of course. That about sums up the entire history of credit and debt. A great idea that destroys everything.

> But to argue for the abolishment of credit because some people suck at it is just throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

> It would absolutely destroy the middle class and kneecap upward mobility of the lower class.

On the contrary. Credit and lending are literally responsible for global economic collapse. It destroys the lives of so many it's not even funny.


> Fail to make your payments and see the true owners of your house take it away from you.

The notion that the collateral for a loan could be repossessed because of non-payment is not convincing.

I still own the house. I can make decisions regarding modifications to it without seeking permission from the bank that loaned the money to me, even if such modifications would lower the value.

> Credit and lending are literally responsible for global economic collapse. It destroys the lives of so many it's not even funny.

No, bad credit and lending are responsible. Sub-prime mortgages, ARMs, and "balloon" mortgages.

In your fantasy world where credit no longer exists, home ownership would drop considerably. Very few people would be able to save the money to buy a home because they would have to pay rent while saving up the money. When I bought my house in 2015, I was paying about $1,000/month for rent. The house I bought is costing me $1,500/month for 30 years ($320K @ 3.85%).

Obviously, that $1,500/month includes interest. A lot of it. So let's assume instead I'm saving money and living in that apartment still. Assume that I'm risk-averse and don't invest my money. At $1,500/month, it would take me 18 years of saving to buy that house

Oh, but home prices are almost always going up. The $338K house (I put $18K down, and most of that was a gift from my in-laws) I'm in is currently worth $550K. It would take 30 years of saving to buy this house at that price.

And the worst part is, the entire time, I'm still paying rent somewhere. And that rent is always going up as well! I would need to have a very considerable amount of disposable income in order to save up to buy a house! In 2015, I could afford a $1,500 mortgage. I could NOT afford to pay $1,000/month in rent AND set aside $1,500/month for a house in the future!

So...you'd significantly reduce how many people could buy a house. You'd think "Well, the lower demand would lower prices!", but that's probably wrong. What would happen is that real estate investors would buy up the houses. The big banks already have the cash on hand. They buy them up, rent them out, and further lock people out of homeownership.

Wealth inequality grows, and the economy suffers. The rich get richer as they extract money via rent, building more wealth to buy more houses to rent out.

Your parents were able to buy a house while home prices relative to wages were better. Good on them. But to eliminate the idea of credit now would be a real "I got mine" move.


> When does that ever happen?

All the time. Debt is almost ubiquitous, and the vast majority of people and businesses use it productively.


To do that they create massive inflation and risk which they try to mitigate by implementing the financial equivalent of global mass surveillance. They'd rather commit any atrocity than accept a loss on their risky investment.


Credit is a tool - one that is needed to keep economic systems working correctly. Depressions don't occur when financial systems pull back - Depressions occur when access to financial capital via credit dries up.

That said, as a tool, it is often mis-used (virtually anything that starts with a credit card is in this category).


#AbolishCreditAgencies

Things were bad, or worse, before they existed. Every little town had one (I remember walking past Palo Alto’s downtown; it was just a storefront with a bunch of file cabinets). Getting credit was slow and complicated and really a pain when you moved.

And before that, even into the mid 20th century, getting credit was all about your network. And remember how much people complain about VCs relying on intros rather than cold calls…well that’s how the entire financial system used to work.

Yes the credit agencies are abusive and lazy and need serious reform and legal management, but they also provide valuable services. I believe it is possible to have the latter and fix the former.


Check if an ad blocker might be interfering? I finished my CCPA request in ~2 minutes and it only required that I do SMS verification. Presumably because the name, phone, address, and email all matched records they had on file for me...


There’s a special caliber of crappy site that only functions when ad-blocking is enabled.

My working theory is that the sites are so bad, they rely on the ads to provide their dependencies as global. Block the ads and you’ve blocked the ancient version jquery the main site needs loaded of function.


At least some adblockers work on keywords. I once made an api call called 'track' that got blocked as a tracker. It was for the pathway you were on after choosing something on that page. I had to rename it to get it to work properly.

It didn't matter that it was an api for that domain. It didn't matter that it had nothing to do with Google ads. It certainly wasn't on any list unless they were adding all newly registered domains to it.


You can just send them an email as defined in the CCPA. Why even give them your cell or SSN.


At least they let you mail or email.

I faxed them 4 times in 6 months to verify my identity because they have me confused with someone else and eventually just gave up.

They said any other alternative was not supported.


You can contact a consumer law attorney to get this fixed. There is an attorney's fees provision in the FCRA which will make it economical to pursue the remedy.


With GDPR you could just send them a formless deletion request.

There are good parts in GDPR for sure.


With GDPR there is no way this could be allowed.

Unfortunately they'd certainly be registered in Ireland and Irish Privacy agency doesn't hand out notable fines ...


GDPR is an EU law and does not have legal legs in the US.


Depends. Do they have EU citizens in their database? GDPR is an EU law that applies to EU citizens around the world, including the US. If you are a non-EU citizen, you can't claim GDPR of course. If you are an EU citizen, you can claim GDPR regardless of the residence of the company AFAIK.

Enforcement of GDPR is a different matter. I am not sure whom I'd complain to, other than my representative in the European parliament. I could probably sue them though, if I found my data there and they refused to comply with my GDPR request.


> that applies to EU citizens around the world, including the US

No. To give a counterexample, there are EU citizens in China, and most internet companies in China don't care a fvck about GDPR, especially Tencent. You bet your conversations on WeChat are logged, sometimes subjected to censorship, and more, it's just how things work. Heck, there are even laws in China that are fully contradictory to GDPR, and the local laws take precedence, regardless of what citizenship you have, if you are physically within the borders you are subject to local laws.

The US isn't any different from China here. The EU doesn't get to enforce its laws in China, and it doesn't get to enforce its laws in the US. They aren't the world police.

That said, I'm not saying GDPR is bad, just that the US needs to have its own version of it in US law. What is bad is letting the EU enforce laws outside their borders. China doesn't, and neither should the US.


GDPR works the opposite of how you think it does. EU residents can claim rights under GDPR regardless of citizenship, and EU citizens in other countries are granted no protections. (I'm not sure about how it works for people whose location is transient, e.g. people on vacations.)

Companies outside of the EU can become subject to GDPR by targeting EU residents. You can always raise a complaint to the data privacy regulator for the EU country where you currently reside, and GDPR has a mechanism to forward that to the relevant authority.


well there's no law that forces them to make it easy.


There’s also no law that requires it be true or accurate. What a great system! :-/


Yeah, capitalism is a nightmare.


Capitalism generally happens successfully in societies with laws.

The difference with socialism is the state both defines the laws and decides how to allocate resources, which tends to result in a lot of poverty.


And in certain capitalist societies, the capital decides the laws and allocation of resources.

At least in theory, in a democratic society, government should be elected by the people. Unfortunately there never was a democratic, socialist country, so it's hard to make statements based on observation with these matters.


Government might be elected but that's a really weak, confusing signal to decide all the spending a market currently decides.

Imagine lumping millions of spending decisions into a binary choice, alongside policy positions and everything else a government represents.


There were many democratic socialist countries, unfortunately socialism devolves into tyranny in less than one election period. For example Czechoslovakia voted for communism freely by its own volition in 1946, and the communists started killing people the same year. It's not an individual's fault - many new unknown people started ruthlessly competing for absolute power as soon as it became available. Similar process happened in the entire Eastern Bloc.


This is more or less what Brazil is doing, but they voted for a (luckily incompetent) proto-dictator to prevent the danger of "communism" (as in "voting for a center-left party" communism).

Democracy only works well with a well informed electorate. This is why we need to fight the diffusion of propaganda disguised as news.


If killing people is your bar for descending into tyranny then capitalism is guilty of the same thing. The whiskey rebellion happened in the US shortly after it’s formation and that was over paying taxes to the capitalist state. You also had the various government slaughters of workers striking whenever they tried to get a better deal from their employers


I'm not advocating for capitalism, I'm just against socialism/communism because it fatally corrupts people's minds - watching local movies from this era is painful, as you can see the horrific distortions it imposed on the people from above. I mean stuff like parents teaching children to never stand out, never excel, never strive for more, never be different - in a panic try to protect them from state-mandated harm.


Government isn't an outside entity. Government is the people--except in a capitalist country where government is owned by corporations.


> Government is the people--except in a capitalist country where government is owned by corporations.

In what country is this true? Was everyone in Soviet Russia the government? Why did they order the killing of themselves if so?


By your logic, corporations are people too


That is indeed what the US Supreme Court agrees with you. Except of course corporations don't go to jail for committing crime.


This is why corporations have directors. Do we have to go through the motions of this tired old cliché?

Neither do governments. But individual people in governments and corporations do.


Depends on your definition of success.If one is Thinking of the long-term viability of the human race then capitalism can only be seen as a disaster if you look at it from a ecological perspective.


Capitalism doesn't happen without state and it is defined by the state, so it's a failure of state regulation, not capitalism itself. States must set different regulation and/or incentives. It's perfectly possible to have 100% ecological capitalism.


Capitalism is the engine behind the pay-to-play nature of the political processes and the supporting propaganda that triggers those failures.

You cant separate capitalism from, for example, the decades of amplified Koch propaganda attacking environmental regulatory prudence and buying up politicians. The Kochs respond to incentives just like everybody else.

>It's perfectly possible to have 100% ecological capitalism.

Only with a shallow and one dimensional view of what capitalism really is and how a state actually functions.


Pay-to-play happens in every single society. The bigger the government, the more benefit there is in engaging in this behaviour.


Corruption of some form usually exists in every society but this form is something a bit special.

r > g means that the power accumulates at a geometric rate without countervailing forces.

What this means is that capitalism requires an exceptionally tight leash to not spin out of control. The mere presence of voting isnt enough.


It's hard to know what you're saying here. What is "spin out of control" and why do you think it isn't addressed by competition and regulation?


I'm saying that when it comes to regulation the sausage is mostly shaped by the same monopolists you naively assume it would protect us from.

And capital has a tendency to kill off competition you assume will just appear and magically take over.


It's not assumed, that's the objective of state: To create a sustainable and consumer-oriented market through regulation and incentives.


This is again, a feelings-based assumption. States do not behave according to this goal.

> This is again, a feelings-based assumption

What feelings are you talking about?


It's not a feelings based assumption, it's the role of liberal democratic states determined by the basic principles of democracy. That the states do not fulfill their role is their own fault.

> Capitalism is the engine behind the pay-to-play nature of the political processes and the supporting propaganda that triggers those failures.

No it's not. Greed is. Corruption happens everywhere, and as ever, a Communist state where government is far more powerful will be more corruptible.


Hijacking here to say, literally all you need to get access to someones employment + salary history is their SSN and birthdate.

edit: and a past employer that used this system

Birthdays are extremely easy to get (public record), and I seem to recall a specific large organization leaking a bunch of SSN's not too long ago.......


Unless you are very young (read: born after 2011) your SSN can be trivially brute forced if an attacker knows where and when you were born, because those details were (before 2011) mapped onto 5 of the 9 digits in an SSN.


You should assume your SSN is public anyway. There have been so many leaks, and it's not like a credit card where you get a new number if it is compromised.


Because it was intended as an identifier, not as a secret. The financial industry couldn't tell the difference between the two so now everyone tries to hide their IDs.


>The financial industry couldn't tell the difference between the two so now everyone tries to hide their IDs.

What's sad and funny is that the login page for "The Work Number" quite literally uses the following for their username field.

<input name="txtUsername" type="password" maxlength="256" id="txtUsername">


It wasn't even intended as an identifier. It's just an account number. "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION".

https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/social-security-card-pi...


More accurately where you were born and when your SSN was issued (my brothers who are four years older than me got their SSNs at the same time I did). Some of us older folks were born in an era in which you didn't automatically get an SSN along with the birth certificate. And then there are people who weren't born in the US so will have had their SSN not matching birth year.

I also think it's less than 5 of the 9 digits that are reflected in this manner. That would not leave room for a lot of distinction in SSNs.


The first three digits are allocated in blocks to each state.


https://www.ssa.gov/employer/stateweb.htm

I'm guessing this is not a good thing if I am under the [NOT ISSUED] category but am definitely in the issued category?


In Italy you don't even need to brute force them, you can generate them because the algorithm is public.

Except same rare case of same name, same birthday, same place of birth, the generated code is always valid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_fiscal_code


Hate to break it to you but that’s 21 year olds now :)

[edit: so I program for a living. you'd think I know how to subtract to integers??? I /assume/ I read 2001? at least I hope I did]


You mean 11? This freaked me out for a sec.


2022 - 2011 = 11, not 21.


It seems crazy to allow a large organization like that to continue operation after such an egregious error, especially if their business is centered around a bunch of personal information.


Their customers are happy. And that means Congress is kept happy. You are not their customer and Congress doesn't care if you are happy.


This is what crony capitalism looks like.


Can you elaborate? Who is crony to whom here? Everyone in the exchange gives the information willingly... people here talk a lot about salary sharing, so here you go, your employer is doing salary sharing with other employers. Someone else facilitates it and makes money. What's wrong with that?

I know why I am going to freeze my data, I don't want employers to know my past salaries - but that's anti-capitalist, I am removing information from the market to give myself an edge in negotiations, and to propagate inequality. Equifax don't have to do it on "capitalist" principles, but they allow me to do that... the only crony thing is the opt-out form I guess ;)


I think it’s hard to look at what capitalism has become today and say much positive about it.

I say this as someone who works in investment finance where we sell semi-rich semi-professional investors the opportunity to become richer by building solar and wind power plants, and selling them when they are fully operational. Which is about as positive as it gets in capitalism in my experience, considering we’re actually helping the world move in the right direction as far as climate change goes.

It is, however, still contributing to the inequality in the world. I had a lot of experience from the Danish public sector digitalisation before joining my current company, and I have a second job as an external examiner for CS students, so it is fair to say that I’m likely in the top 10% of paid developers in my region. If you invest with us, you can make 10 million Danish kroner into 20 million Danish kroner in 5-10 years, and while you do so by fighting climate change, I make around 1 million Danish kroner in savings over 10 years, as one of the better paid non top-level managers in my country.

As you’ve probably guessed I’m Danish, and we’re probably famous for our take on society in that all our political parties are basically a different colour of social democrats, and we have been like this since what is essentially the dawn of modern Denmark, so equality is a big part of our society, as in, if a private company builds an apartment complex in the most attractive part of our city, they are required by law to make at least 10% of those apartment available for rent to the “common people” at the cities disposal. That’s how much we care about equality, and the best example of capitalism we have is making rich people much richer by basically doing nothing.

Another thing we are famous for is community ownerships. The best example is that we have two major supermarket chains, one is owned by investors the other is owned by the people who shop there. Guess which one has been driving positive change forward, repeatedly been reinvesting in its own business and it’s employees and under covid sent 100% of its profits on things like clothes on to small clothing stores that were closed due to lockdown?

Now I’ve ranted for a while, and it may sound like I’m getting somewhere, but I’m actually not. Because the issue with co-operative ownership is that it makes it very hard to start something new. The big co-operative ownership organisations we have typically came to be by a lot of smaller organisations joining together after they were established. The solar farms we build are a good example of this in play. We’re going to build a couple of thousand of them over the next five years and while non-profits movements have certainly helped made it a profitable area, no one outside of private investors are going to build even close to this amount. So how do you change the world without capitalism?

The answer is probably in taxing the rich, but good luck with that.


I'm a foreigner with a Danish job and I very much like the country. It's refreshingly different. Money is still very important but I think infinitely less so compared to the states; it isn't what motivates people.

It's also interesting to note that Denmark has negative interest rates and anyone with more than 100k DKK is really quite punished for keeping it in the bank. I'm glad that your company provides a vehicle for the upper middle classes to use their wealth well. What's it called? And what's the name of the two supermarkets you mentioned (is one of them Føtex?)


I’m not going to name my employer, but I agree that it’s an excellent vessel for the upper middle class to invest their money.

I wish more entrepreneurs saw the value in semi-professional and maybe even small time investors and green energy investment. Exactly because it gives people more opportunities when they rank up the 100k Danish kroner to reach the negative interest, and green energy is still in a place where everyone can have an impact and see nice returns.


- Could be https://www.obton.com/ he’s working for. - Coop, they have Fakta, Kvikly, Super Brugsen and a couple of others.


I think one should not forget that Denmark's society is mostly homogenous. When you have a vastly dominant, culturally homogenous group, it's relatively easy to trust and support one another.

In a highly diverse country like the US, where the average New Yorker or new immigrant will have a completely different culture and world view from the average Joe in Missouri, and that's just two examples out of many, it's very difficult to build a culture of mutual trust, especially in comparison to the level of support Scandinavian countries offer to their communities.


I hate hearing this argument. Simply because I'm living proof of the opposite: I'm not a native Swede, I immigrated here, I integrated into society by looking at its values, identifying with most of them and sharing those forward. I became a Swede and it has nothing to do with being born Nordic or into a homogeneous culture.

This hand-waving argument on why America is exceptional is really misplaced. America has issues because it has a big population and manages everything in terms of money. Money is the religion of the USA, it's the ideology of the country and when the only metric you use to gauge anything is on how much will be spent and how much return it will give in monetary terms, you end up with a deeply fractured web of perverse incentives and misplaced cooperation to juggle one metric: money.

America was built in a culture of mistrust, it came from inception and it never fought it. Distrust from centralised government, distrust in others (hence having guns, you don't trust you'll be protected from others so you need to take matters into your hands), distrust in commercial relationships, in personal relationships. It makes society feels fake and shallow, like everyone is just playing a part. There is just a lack of communal sense in everything regarding American culture, it's all about individualism and the self.

Sweden may be seen as a communal society but it's really not that simple, I like to say that Sweden is the most communal individualistic country I've been to, people still value self-reliance and individualism, while also keeping in mind a holistic view of society.

I wish Americans could see past this exceptionalism and move towards building something based on trust, it'd be a force to be reckoned with. Right now it's just a huge waste of bickering and pettiness all around, every single issue in America is amplified by this huge egoistic mindset.


You make some fair points about money and mistrust but the parent's argument is not unfair. You mention that you "became a Swede" by adopting Sweden's values. America doesn't have one unified set of values due to being so big. Sweden is smaller than Ohio by population. Ohioans generally share some values, but they are quite different than people in Massachusetts or Mississippi. America is closer to the EU's scale, and the EU has plenty of idealogical differences between member states. Do the Greeks trust that the Germans are looking out for their best interests?


Like dtwest says, you have embraced the local culture.

If someone from let's say, a rural village in central Asia, will immigrate to Sweden and will hold on to their original culture, I doubt the average Swedish guy will be as happy to pay that guy's medical bills, the same way they'd do for someone who does holds a similar culture.


I realize this is just proving your point, but it also demontrates why the US doesn't really see the current culture as an issue:

GDP per capita:

USA: 63,543.58 USD

SWE: 51,925.71 USD

(for reference) UK: 40,284.64 USD

These are all for 2020.


The reason the US does nothing about climate change, privacy, inequality, etc. is lack of homogeneity? I'd like to see some evidence of the connection. Most of those policies are opposed by the same political grouping. The US has accomplished plenty of things in the past.

Homogeneity depends on the definition of the groups. Most people in the US speak English, have a smartphone, etc. The US has long unified behind ideas - democracy, liberty, civil rights, and opportunity for all, a more perfect union, but that same political grouping has significantly abandoned them (i.e., the 'for all' aspect, which is all that matters). When we look at 'ethnic' heterogeneity (often based on little but bias) the US has always been heterogeneous. For example, Italian and Polish, Protestant and Catholic, etc. used to be very separate groups. The definitions of the groups has always been flexible and convenient.

Finally, the parent argument implicitly accounts racism to the conditions, rather than to the people choosing it - a convenient cover for personal behavior. It also fits a popular trend saying that negative outcomes and human evil are inevitable. It's not inevitable at all; we certainly have good and evil in us, and we have the free will to choose which we do - an ancient belief of the Bible, the Enlightenment, etc. Racial division is a choice. There is nothing more inevitable about it than Protestants hating Catholics. Humans have done good things and bad things, and democracy - overwhelmingly the most successful form of government in history - has succeeded by depending on the good in people. You can do it right now.

Why would people look for arguments that success is impossible? We have accomplished incredible things and have much more to do.


I wasn't referring to climate change, etc. when I replied to the nice Danish fellow. I was mostly referring to his note regarding the sense of community and equality in Denmark.

My point is that cultural dissimilarity creates a lot of mistrust and frustration. If I don't have the same common goal as my neighbor, and we have a completely different style--our chances to be in conflict are a lot higher, and so my likeliness of wanting to help him out are much lower.

I'm from Israel, and even if you look just at the Jewish demography, the differences between the different groups, are huge -- even though we all speak Hebrew, part of the Jewish culture/religion in some way, etc. The life goals of a secular Jew in Tel-Aviv, could be almost the complete opposite of a religious Jew in Jerusalem -- you can imagine the conflict to be quite immense, and hence the sense of community greatly eliminated.


> cultural dissimilarity creates a lot of mistrust and frustration

As I said above, 'cultural dissimilarity' is a matter of perspective and changes all the time. And it doesn't create mistrust and frustration; people acting divisively and hatefully, and supporting systems that promote those things - people do it. There's not mechanism to blame. What are you doing? What am I doing?


>The reason the US does nothing about climate change, privacy, inequality, etc. is lack of homogeneity

I don't agree with the general point, but I do think the GOP funding class uses the US's heterogeneity as a wedge to distract from those issues (or anything else that would cost them money). See all of the culture wars.

What's the one big thing congress passed during the Trump years? The tax cut. That's not a mistake.


I used to think this, but I'm not sure the evidence actually supports it. The UK has similar levels of immigration and overseas-born citizens as Scandi countries, but nowhere near their levels of social cohesion/social democracy.

We were more similar < 1980, but I think the rhetoric from right wing corporate and billionaire-owned press, and now the internet, has eroded it to a large degree.


> According to 2021 figures from Statistics Denmark, 86% of Denmark's population of over 5,840,045 was of Danish descent, defined as having at least one parent who was born in Denmark and has Danish citizenship.

> The most recent Census in 2011 highlights that in England and Wales, 80 per cent of the population were white British > from 2001 to 2011, the percentage of the population of England and Wales that was White British decreased from 87.4% to 80.5%

And I imagine that white British population has gone down in the past 10 years.

Denmark is one of the most homogeneous country in Europe.

But to support your claim, Italy is even more homogeneous than Denmark, around ~91% of the population is "Italian" and yet we can't even agree that southerners and northerners are the same people.

I think that in Denmark a small population living in highly dense cities with high homogeneity helps.


I've visited Italy quite a bit and been there for nearly two months in aggregate, spanning all regions in the north, and in the south spent weeks in parts like Puglia and Campagnia. My impression was that culturally, the Italians in the south are VERY different from the Italians in the north.

Even just the different driving style was very apparent.

Wouldn't you say that the cultural experience in a random village in Puglia will be very different from the random village in Trentino?


I am Italian, from Rome, but lived everywhere in Italy, from North to South, sometimes for long periods, sometimes for as long as a week.

What you noticed is true, but it's simply a reflection of past history, where Italy was a group of villages/towns independent (and often at war) with each other.

Italians are often chauvinists and defend local over global, no matter the evidence.

But, truth is there are more Sicilians in Lombardy than in Sicily, Rome is the largest city of Abruzzo (there are more people from Abruzzi in Rome than in L'Aquila, the capital of the region ) so what happens is that they recreate their local culture where they go and slowly with times the traditions become a mix that incorporate both cultures.

For example in Milan, where I lived for the past 8 years, it's easier to eat Sicilian, Pugliese or Chinese than a typical Milanese cuisine, but it's almost impossible to find a good Roman restaurant.

On the other hand, locally, the separation is usually stronger, it's true that culturally a random village from Trentino is different from a random village in Sicily (and there are historical reasons, Trentino is kinda an outlier in Italy, it's been Italian for a relatively short period) but it's also true that a random village near Palermo is different from a random village near Siracusa.

My parents come from a small town 100kms South of Rome and in that same town the eastern and western part speak two different variations of the same dialect and also the typical dishes are different. they are only fee kms apart.

My point is that in Denmark homogeneous population is only part of the reason, the most important one is being historically a united country under the same traditions that are valid throughout their territory and keep them together. Also a small population makes it easier, Denmark has the same population of an Italian region like Lazio, where, more or less, the culture is uniformally the same and the roman culture is more prominent than the rest of the country.


The UK is like Sweden, but Denmark (and Finland) are much more homogenous. And Sweden only retains social trust because it was still homogenous 20 years ago, most people don't realize they essentially live in Rio.


What the fuck are you talking about?

I'm a naturalised Swede, coming originally from Brazil, so I have plenty of hands-on experience to both be offended as to ask what the fuck are you talking about because it's a hugely racist take on multiple layers.

Let me know exactly your points on how Sweden is essentially Rio, I'd love to hear it.


I'm saying that:

1. Sweden is not the same as Denmark/Finland, it's not homogenous at all anymore, in that sense it's very similar to the UK

2. Social trust is still relatively high in Sweden (because of inertia) but it's eroding very quickly with increased heterogeneity and crime.

There's nothing racist about pointing this out, it's just a fact. Homogenous societies have much higher trust. I don't think this is racial, I think it's cultural.

When you have a very large inflow of people from completely different cultures, mostly with little education and without any ties to the host country, that will obviously create tension, and trust between people of the same culture, that speak the same language, is of course higher than between complete strangers, like a protestant Swede and a Muslim from Syria. Or even a Christian from Syria.

Sweden used to be a very safe country, with little crime and little inequality, and a homogenous culture. Now it's very quickly turning into a very unsafe place, with increasing inequality as immigrants form a huge underclass, while the upper middle classes have profited from exploding house prices, and the rich getting much much richer.

In many locations a majority of children don't speak Swedish at home, school results are plummeting.

Sweden has gone from a country where few people locked their doors to a society where the police recommends you to not wear jewellery in public, women are advised not to walk home alone and home invasions are booming. The well-off build safe rooms and hide in gated communities.

Does any of this sound familiar from Rio?


I think I will need some hard data and facts rather than your report. No, none of what I live or hear about in Sweden is anywhere close to Rio, that's my point on racism: you are exaggerating an issue that is not close at all in terms of impact and pervasiveness and using both points to push a racist narrative, that immigrants are causing the downfall of Sweden.

Yes, many of your points have some factual basis behind them but the exaggeration you take them up to is simply the rallying point of the far-right in Sweden, repeating those as if they are causing the doom of society is just fostering their agenda.

Immigration is an issue? Yes in some senses, not in others. You know what is much worse for Swedish society well-being and erosion of the social web? Neoliberalism policies, pushed since the 90s, to the 2000s and onwards. This creates huge fractures in society as you can watch with wealth inequality getting even higher.

Sweden is still, by all accounts globally, a very safe country. Does it have issues that were exacerbated by a huge influx of immigrants? Yes, of course, but Sweden also requires a large swath of ever-dwindling low-skilled workforce, jobs that no Swede would do for the pay are currently taken by immigrants. These immigrants are then able to access the larger system of education for their kids, which will in a generation or two bump them up.

I know that works because I have numerous friends coming from refugee families from Chile, Ethiopia, etc. that are 2nd generation here, and they became lawyers, architects, and so on.

All of your talking points are very similar to the propaganda pushed by SD so I believe you are caught in some echo chamber of those types. Please, get out of that, the world is not so gloomy and Swedish society is not destined to doom. It will be though if this type of narrative keeps being pushed.

You've never lived in Rio, the situation is much much worse than simply "don't wear jewelry and lock your doors"-type of issues... You simply can't grasp it and it's ok, you haven't experienced it in a way that's shaped and molded you as an adult.


I must warn you, I haven't lived in Sweden for almost a decade so saying that I'm saying the same things as "the far right extremists" in SD (who is actually a Social-Democratic party) doesn't really work. I really don't care if Nazis, Communists or cannibals share my concern.

> Sweden also requires a large swath of ever-dwindling low-skilled, workforce, jobs that no Swede would do for the pay are currently taken by immigrants

Which is more correct do you think:

1. Before mass immigration, Sweden had no dish washers, garbage collectors or cleaners, so we had to open the borders to cheap labour.

2. When we imported cheap labour, salaries for low skilled work imploded (sort of the point) and THEN Swedes stopped wanting to do these jobs for lower pay.

> Neoliberalism policies

What aspect of this, apart from importing cheap labour, do you think has "created huge fractures"? Sure, too many companies have been privatised, lots of first world corruption. But what could possibly be more disruptive than replacing a third of the population with low skilled, low paid people from completely different cultures?

> These immigrants are then able to access the larger system of education for their kids, which will in a generation or two bump them up.

This is not happening in Sweden to any useful extent and you are probably perfectly aware of that. School results for 2nd generation immigrants are abysmal, and criminality for many groups is sky high. Politicians have promised that "integration will work soon and the investment will pay off" for 40 years now, but it hasn't materialised. What makes you think it will ever happen?

> You simply can't grasp it and it's ok, you haven't experienced it in a way that's shaped and molded you as an adult.

I haven't even been there, I was flippant. But I think we should turn this around. I grew up in Sweden when it was the safest place on Earth, you grew up in Brazil. Who do you think has a better understanding of the decline of Swedish society? Do you think that perhaps you might be judging it by Brazilian standards, and that's why it's not "gloomy"?

> Sweden is still, by all accounts globally, a very safe country.

It's probably still safer than Rio, but it's definitely not "safe":

https://rmx.news/article/sweden-is-the-most-dangerous-countr...


What is that based on? It seems circular: You blame 'heterogeneity' (a concept based on a myth), it is having no effect, so therefore people just must not realize it.

> Rio

What do you mean by that?


One reason for the previously very high trust that existed in Sweden is the homogenous population. Everyone spoke the same language, knew the same songs, had the same values. (Other reasons could include protestantism, the cold climate, low crime rates etc).

When the population is becoming very diverse, and as crime is increasing, trust falls. This is not speculation, it is well known. And it's happening in Sweden, it's just trailing behind. People over 40 grew up in one of the safest countries in human history, so it takes time for them to adjust to the new reality. In 30 years, trust in Sweden will approach Rio.


> When the population is becoming very diverse, and as crime is increasing, trust falls. This is not speculation, it is well known.

Diversity causes crime to increase? That's only 'well known' among people who oppose those who are different than them.


In the case of Sweden it's not a secret that crime has increased exactly because of immigration, since some immigrant groups are extremely over represented in crime stats.

Looking at crimes in general, people with both parents born outside of Sweden are about 3x more likely to commit crimes, and the over representation is even higher for violent crimes.

Looking at violent rape, 75% of assailants were born outside Europe.

There are very extensive statistics on this, and unfortunately they don't go away no matter how much you love people "that are different". Even calling people racists doesn't work, believe me they tried.


Rather, the media monopolies prior to 1980 suppressed nationalistic viewpoints.


I am convinced that the way to change the world (not necessarily towards some altruistic nirvana but at least to avoid a dysfunctional, environmentally and socially disastrous dystopia) is by raising our education / communication game towards more honesty and transparency when discussing socioeconomic challenges and less obfuscation inane, monkey chest beating like conflicts.

Already any discussion that centers around "capitalism" is deeply problematic as it invariably takes enormously complex sets of laws, conventions and behavioral attitudes that varies materially (both historically and regionally) and forces it into a binary yes/no universe. You can't solve complex problems with random hammer blows on each others heads.

All of the constituent components of what we term "market democracy" must be examined not as what they say on the label, but what happens in practice. Just as a simple and single example: when politicians routinely enter revolving-door appointments to serve private interests how can we even pretend this is a feature of "capitalism".

The true underlying behavior is cooperating private gangs marauding the commons. It doesn't matter if it happens in ultra-capitalist US or "communist" China.


> So how do you change the world without capitalism? The answer is probably in taxing the rich, but good luck with that.

That would work for a year or two, until you had egalitarianized the money so everybody had the same amount. Then what? And what would be the effect of that?


Everyone wouldn’t have the same money. 80 years ago we taxes the rich around 80% on their over all income, then thatcher and regan paved the way to the world we have now, which is obviously having issues.

I may have come off overly negative toward capitalism because I posted early in the morning, but my general point was that it’s the only economic engine that works.

It sort of breaks down when it’s not regulated though, which is why I think we’re seeing so many issues tied to financial inequality in the world today.

I don’t think the solution is for everyone to have the exact same amount of money, but I struggle with how you can look at the current state of the world and think that it’s great. We need to help poor people get better opportunities, without ruining the systems we have for everyone else. I mean, history has shown us again and again what happens if we don’t.


>> So how do you change the world without capitalism? The answer is probably in taxing the rich, but good luck with that.

> That would work for a year or two, until you had egalitarianized the money so everybody had the same amount. Then what? And what would be the effect of that?

The only way to tax wealthy people is to remove all differences in wealth??


People who bash capitalism after the last century of expansion should just be considered negationists at this point.

Sure it is not perfect but it's infinitely better than any other economic model available.


That was sort of my point, but I may have drowned it in a little too much negativity.

I do however think we should work with capitalism as a model though. It’s quite obvious to me that it needs a strong political regulator to make sure it doesn’t run amok. I’m not against inequality for the sake of being against it, but I do recognise that too much inequality and too few opportunities for a lot of folks is potentially dangerous.


people who defend capitalism on the face of the last century's (and ongoing) environmental disaster should just be considered negationist at this point.

Sure is not all wrong but it's infinitely worse than any economic model that actually secures a sustainable future


Yes, good thing we had USSR and still have China that were (is) very environment-conscious!


So capitalism is infinitely worse than the one-child policy?


Please stick to intelligent discussion. I didn't specify an alternative model for a good reason, it doesn't exist yet.

But your attempt to pre-empt that the only possible alternative is Chinese style state-sponsered capitalism illustrates the paucity of your imagination or the malice of your intentions


You spoke of the environment as your goal, and said that “any” economic option that was sustainable (presumably regarding the environment) was “infinitely” better. I gave just one example that meets your criteria that popped into my mind. If you don’t like it, then perhaps consider adjusting your original claim. You’re the one that said it would be better.


> I didn't specify an alternative model for a good reason, it doesn't exist yet.

There are plenty of alternatives to what the US does. You can see them in other politically and economically advanced countries, which achieve far better results. You can see them in relatively recent US history.


by all accounts those "other" advanced countries offer a better socioeconomy model for how to organize things. The (recent) US is really an outlier that makes no sense whatsoever.

But there is a weakness in this view, namely the enormous security (and energy) dependency of those "other" countries on the US. It is a coupled system, making it hard to isolate what the standalone merits of the various modelw


Well, we're not going to have double-blind controlled empirical data. However, the other countries are easily wealthy enough to fund their own militaries at this point, without significant economic impact (right after WWII, it was a different story - the US produced half of the world's economic output, IIRC).


> I say this as someone who works in investment finance where we sell semi-rich semi-professional investors the opportunity to become richer by building solar and wind power plants, and selling them when they are fully operational. Which is about as positive as it gets in capitalism in my experience, considering we’re actually helping the world move in the right direction as far as climate change goes.

Isn’t this also exactly what causes crony capitalism. How many of these semi-rich investors, have friends in politics making regulations that will benefit these.

The fact that this is a thing ensures that a percentage of our politicians pimping climate change are not doing so because they care about the environment but because they’re pimps exploiting those below them for their own profit.

Otherwise we’d welcome and fund even fossil fuel nuclear, and gas, technologies alongside the green technologies. The modern car IC engine, is proof that there are even gains to be made while still not being fully green.

But they need to make it super scary, so they can profit more. One day I hope we can see all the money they made in roundabout ways from these green companies (and big pharmaceutical with covid by the way)


It’s also what regular capitalism looks like.


Regular capitalism is when you decide between having your cake or eating it.

Crony capitalism occurs when people start to want to have their cake and eat it too.

Capitalism’s basis is that everyone is a servant. This means we’re all lower than the king, but we are also are kings ourselves. However crony capitalism occurs when a servant makes himself greater than his master, when the greatest king and master of all showed the way to prosperity was by becoming the greatest servant.

Our politicians character is proof that capitalism has failed, because they want to be kings, but they do not want to be servants.


Regular capitalism always becomes crony capitalism, and then probably neo-fuedalism.


Regular capitalism doesn't exist


SSNs are generated by a not very secret algorithm. They were explicitly designed to be public information.

You don't need a data leak to get someone's SSN.

Also, malicious actors are almost never targeting you specifically. It is enough for them to

1) choose a birthdate

2) generate all SSNs associated with that birthdate

3) get all employment/salary histories accessible with that info.

4) scan the list for interesting tagets

5) ...

6) profit


And you'd need to know a past employer, right? I couldn't seem to find a way to get access to the info without inputting an employer first.


Many people post their professional career on LinkedIn. Again, it seems easy to find this information through public sources.


Yep, 100% agree.


Good catch, I'll add that.


Or send them a CCPA data deletion request: https://yourdigitalrights.org/d/equifax.com. This will generate a request email. You can then change the wordings to indicate that you are interested in deleting your salary history data.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the creators of YourDigitalRights.org.


What are the potential ramifications for submitting a request on your site when you don't have residency in one of the listed areas?


Worst case they wont deal with your request.


Great site, I just used your service to email "Right to Access Request (Section 110 of the CCPA)" to Equifax.

Question / suggestion -- Have you considered monetizing by allowing lawyers specializing in CCPA / consumer privacy issues to advertise on your site?


Interesting suggestion. We're not interested in advertising, but would consider collaborating with law firms that work in this space (consumer protection / privacy). I have a lot more to say about this so message me if you're interested.


Nice site. You should probably update it for Brexit though. There are two GDPRs, for now.


The dropdown has options for "GDPR (UK)", "GDPR (EU)" or "CCPA" so they have actually already done this.


But, I didn't opt in for them to have this information about me to begin with.


>But, I didn't opt in for them to have this information about me to begin with.

Everyone is up in arms about Facebook and Google collecting our information... meanwhile credit bureaus are sitting in the shadows giggling to themselves


The obsession with "big tech" as the biggest abuser of consumer privacy frustrates the hell out of me, and must be a real delight to credit bureaus, cell carriers, data brokers, fintech parasites, and all the rest of the slimy fuckers who do far worse things every day and aren't even on the public's radar.


Reporting an employee’s salary vs Zuckerberg selling your political motivations to manipulate elections are two different ballparks. It’s not that people aren’t frustrated with other abusers of customer privacy, it’s just big tech is the best at it.


The Big Techs that run on ad revenue typically keep user data to themselves, and offer advertisers a platform for targeting ads without knowledge of individual users. There have been some scandals (CA is the one I always think of, and there are more) but typically selling de-anonymized user data is not the business model of these companies. That doesn't stop people from saying it is, but AFAIK they are largely incorrect.

Contrast that with e.g. the somewhat recent revelations that cell carriers have been selling individuals' granular, de-anonymized location history data to, essentially, anybody willing to pay.

From a privacy standpoint, which I think is the context here, I consider the latter sort of thing to be far worse.


They are 2 very different ballparks in that I would much rather let FB sell my info which I provide willingly than a credit bureau sell my salary history, which I don't.


Also Facebook doesn't sell anyone's info!


Facebook doesn't sell your info. You cannot buy people political affiliations on fb.


You forgot the worst of them all, the government!


Well yeah -- did you think it was somehow about consumer rights?

Democrats and Republicans alike want to use the threat of regulation and anti-trust action to force social media companies to adopt moderation policies favorable to them. They both recognize (IMO correctly) that they must make these threats; principled adherence to economic liberty leaves one without leverage and is likely to result in companies simply caving to one's opposition (c.f. the behavior of most companies with respect to China).

Credit bureaus don't influence elections, ergo there is little advantage to be gained by making threats against them.


I don't think it's a both sides issue. Regulating social media companies for a politically favorable environment is largely a Republican adventure.

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/12/01/texas-social-media-l...

https://www.flgov.com/2021/05/24/governor-ron-desantis-signs...


You don't need to. Your employer can give this info to whoever they want, and many give this data to Equifax or one of the other credit agencies.

Also, you might give your bank employment details, and your bank will most likely send that info to a credit agency as well.

There's not much of an escape.


Opt out of the system as soon as you possibly can. No mortgage, no bank, no address, no traditional job.


Or, combine with other people to fight the ridiculous system? Even if you manage to pull off a life like this, you're limiting yourself significantly and leaving many people behind.


No mortgage and no job are achievable.

You kind of need a bank, if you go around with cash the police or other criminals can just seize it.

You also may want an address to live somewhere, I'd rather live in a house than in a car.


Have a mailing address that is in the same city but not your residential address.


If I bundle my personal information together into an nft and then buy that nft, could I issue the credit agency with a DMCA takedown notice?


Aren't NFTs essentially just file hashes/signatures that can be associated with a public/private key pair on a blockchain? If so, the link between the NFT and the key pair might be solid (as in cryptographically secure) but the link between the NFT and its "underlying asset" (which might be copyrightable) seems flimsy.

That being said, since both NFT ownership and our legal systems rely on consensus and majority opinion, it's not hard to imagine a corrupt society in which the opinion of judges is disregarded in favor of blockchain consensus.

Edit: you might be joking but it's an interesting question nonetheless because it highlights how various systems compete for legitimacy :)


IANAL

The NFT would be completely irrelevant here. Basically I assume you are claiming copyright over your salary and personal information. Unfortunately you can't trademark facts, so this approach isn't viable.


Try it and let us know!


What exactly do employers and banks stand to gain from sharing this information? Is it an exchange of information for money?


For employers it offloads employment and salary verification. Instead of having to pay someone to answer verification calls all day they just upload the data to The Work Number and let them handle it.


Are employers obligated to provide employment and salary verification?


If they didn't their employees would be pretty pissed when they're unable to get a mortgage.


So go to HR and say "please sign this form that says I make $X" rather than preemptively broadcasting it?


Here's how I imagine this goes down:

ADP Rep: "Hey, we have an exciting new feature to offer you! We partner with the worlds premiere credit and employment reporting agency to eliminate the hassle of salary and employment verification."

VP, HR: "Go on..."

ADP: "If you opt in to this innovative program, you'll never again have to respond to your employees' lenders or landlords. 97% of banks participate in this program. Instead of them asking their applicant—your employee—for paperwork that you have to deal with, they come direct to the source automatically. Again, this is at no additional cost. It's included with our Premium Payroll Plus offering. Interested?"

HR: "Yeah, of course. One less thing I have to deal with"

ADP: "And the best part is you'll then qualify for a substantial discount on our partner's Employment Data System. Rest easy with unlimited verification reports for all your prospective new hires"

HR: "Anyone ever turn this down?"

ADP: "Almost never."


This is exactly what happened when I applied for a mortgage here in Ireland. Seemed fine.


Banks and organizations that are considering lending you credit (i.e. buying a house / car / getting a credit card) can know if you're getting in over your head with finances and might be higher risk to repay. They can set their interest rates and fees appropriately.

Although all that said for any major loan the bank is going to ask you to provide detailed proof of all income, assets, etc. They likely use this service as a check to make sure you aren't trying to overstate your income.


From what I recall at my time there, banks use it as supplemental source of creditworthiness validation. The government also pays for the data to verify eligibility for welfare and other social services. Employers...I don't think were a major revenue source although I wouldn't be surprised if some used it to inform their salary thresholds.


theworknumber.com is yet another symptom of a much larger problem in that it is currently impractical for a regular person to enforce their rights via the court system.

According to Peter Thiel “If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system...” https://theintercept.com/2016/10/31/trump-fan-peter-thiel-sa... So never-mind the non-millionaires.

However it is really nice to see efforts by some regular people out there setting up services such as https://yourdigitalrights.org which is the service I just used to request my information from Equifax. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. I suppose if they do not respond in 45 days I'll file a complaint with the CA Attorney General to put yet another ping regarding Equifax on their radar. https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-busine...

This shows that ultimately it is the regular people who drive progress, while the powerful and the wealthy just take credit for it.

Ultimately United States will transition to European-style privacy laws when it comes to private information like income and these credit agencies will be abolished, but the way to get there is for the regular non-millionaire people to exercise whatever "rights" they kinda have to ultimately get these annoyances shut down.


So a new company you are joining can easily verify your current salary with your ssn & dob. Right? They have your history of employers from your resume already.


That's not legal under the FCRA unless you've given them written permission.

Though some companies will do a background check on all new hires (again, with your permission) which would include employment verification.


And that's a critical point to remember.

Get the job offer and negotiate salary before agreeing to a background check. Let them make the offer be contingent on the results of those checks (and drug screen or security check or whatever else they want).

But before turning in notice on your current job, wait until all checks are completed and make them reissue the offer letter with all contingencies removed. Otherwise you're still at risk of them pulling the offer while you're busy packing up your desk.


Just also want to point out that freezing might result in certain parties that you do want to verify your employment from being able to do so.

If you're in the process of buying a house, you might want to hold off on this freeze until your mortgage has been approved. Might be true if you re refinancing or buying some else that requires a significant loan.

I'm not entirely sure if what I've stated above is true, but I've had to use theworknumber in the past when going through the mortgage process.


What are the consequences of doing this? What conclusion do HR departments draw about a person who freezes their employment information?


Are there other agencies we have to do this for as well?


I checked earlier today and yep, my employer is selling my data and future earnings potential to the company that is infamous for poor data security.

A confounding factor is that as a hiring manager, and at least for all the hiring decisions I have been involved in, I know we did not use this to check candidates. So what's the upside?

EDIT: ADP Workforcenow appears to do this automatically. I'm curious to find out if anyone in our company even knows it is happening. I will find out soon enough, as this is definitely a hill to die on.


I've seen how this works before, and what happens is all the companies submit their data to equifax, equifax then goes and creates a set of "profiles" for example "Junior software engineer", take all the data for employees with software engineer related titles and less than 3 years of experience, remove outliers and sell the result to employers as "salary band information". The result is that your employer gets a number saying "Junior software engineers in X location earn from 80,000 to 110,000" and that's used by your HR team to ensure that you don't drive up salaries by over offering. The role of equifax in this is to act as a level of protection, because the actual resultant behaviour is all the software companies working as a cartel to limit employee wages.


We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. . . We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of.

- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations


Pave (https://www.pave.com/) is another startup doing this


I worked in a two person company last year where I ran payroll with ADP.

It's there for me too, and I don't recall opt in permission on this.


Just to add another data point, our startup uses Gusto and my salary isn't in the data. My old salary from Google (which I think used ADP) is though.


"Do you agree to allow your data to be shared with 3rd parties as necessary to provide you with the best service possible?"

[races off to something much worse than you imagined with your data]


Three-person company here. We do our own payroll, using Quickbooks (not their payroll processing service, just Quickbooks the desktop application). We have employees in two states.


But is your salary data on this equifax site?


Is your info listed?


you know, I spoke with a company not too long ago and they gave me an offer that was 30% lower than what I currently make. The gap was entirely due to not accounting for public company RSU grants (that I had already mentioned)

In hindsight I wouldn't be surprised if their department used this tool to check my current cash income and automatically generated an offer. I wouldn't trust this data for much, and I can almost guarantee that someone in HR/Finance thinks their clever for using it.


The report tells you in the last 24 months who has looked at this info, so you could check that.


OMG, those companies… They should monetize tracking the tracker. And then they can monetize that.


what report? where?


Equifax is the Dow Jones Chemical of the data world. They have a tendency to mess up catastrophically yet they keep surviving by some miracle!


Ask HR how you should verify your employment and salary for a mortgage application. I know my company intentionally shares since they ask you to use the work number to send a verification to the lender.


The whole "verify your salary with employer" process is BS. Lenders can verify income by requesting your tax returns, and N recent pay stubs (source: I own my employer and have verified income this way, since obviously they are not going to call myself up and ask me to verify my own income). This is only about reducing their verification costs. If there needs to be a giant database of everyone's income, the government should run it, and they already have the data.


If you verify with tax returns, it would be easy to borrow money from a friend and count it as income every year just for loan qualification. And then borrow more money from a bank, wait 6 months for seasoning, and use it as down payment to buy real estate.

And if the loan gets sold to the government, it needs to meet government underwriting criteria and the lender has no free will. Especially for residential mortgages: No private business cares about 3% interest on a loan, they sell those to the government and make money on the origination fees.

If you get a hard money loan, they'll only ask for tax stubs but you'll also pay 10-12% interest. If the buy is really good sometimes they don't even care about taxes or ability to repay - they get your equity if you default so who cares if you make a dumb decision? It's mainly the government loans where they really try to avoid defaults.


> If you verify with tax returns, it would be easy to borrow money from a friend and count it as income every year just for loan qualification.

1) Where do I make friends with people who have such large piles of cash laying around they're willing to front me stacks large enough so I can lie and claim it as income on my taxes to inflate the size of the loan I can get? Multiple years in a row?

2) Once I claim it as income, I owe about a third of it to the federal and state governments in the form of.. income tax. Is my friend okay with only getting about 70% of each loan back after each tax season?

I mean, if my rich friend loans me $100K each year, after three years (the number of tax returns I had to show for my last mortgage), He'll have lost about $90K on the deal... wouldn't have just been easier for him to gift me the $90K the first year and I could put it towards my house and then not needed such a large loan in the first place? It'd have saved us all three years of hassle.


I don't want to derail the thread into discussing exact mechanics. I just think if most people underwrote loans according to their intuition, they'd lose a lot of money. And a tax return is controlled by the same person applying for the mortgage, so is less valuable than the same information split among two people.


"Friends" might be a misnomer, these are usually fraud rings/criminal organizations.


>If you verify with tax returns, it would be easy to borrow money from a friend and count it as income every year just for loan qualification.

Huh? Isn't it fraud to declare something as income that's not actually income? Also, if you declare something as income, don't you have to pay tax on it? So this scheme will mean you have to pay a bunch of taxes you wouldn't have to otherwise. This sounds like the opposite type of fraud people do. People usually under-report income, not over-report it.

"Yes IRS, I made $1T last year." "Ok cool, send us $400B in taxes please."


> Isn't it fraud to declare something as income that's not actually income?

Mortgage fraud is a thing that exists, so it's not like labeling it as a crime lets you forget about it.

> don't you have to pay tax on it?

If you're borrowing at 30x leverage like some government loans give, taxes on the down payment is a small increase in cost-of-leverage which is more than made up for by the reduced interest rates.

Anyways, my point is, there's good reason to look at the same income viewed in multiple ways. Adding an employer into the mix is at least a separate person(which is probably why they waived the requirement in OP's case), while tax returns are filed by the potential fraudster/"entrepreneur".


If you're "borrowing" money from a friend to bump up your income, you're likely going to bump yourself up into a higher tax bracket and end up paying more money in taxes.


On the money you borrowed. Moving into a higher tax bracket does not mean you pay the higher rate on all earning, but rather only marginal earnings in the higher bracket.

Regardless, it doesn't make sense to pay taxes on borrowed money. I'm not sure this scheme is real.


10-12% is higher than my credit card APR is that really what hard money loans are going for now?!


The US average is a above 16%.


Yeah, I used the work number thing to verify my salary for my mortgage.


As in you had to interact directly with work number for that? Or do you mean that lender “magically” knew and pre-populated your salary info during application process?


Not the parent, but my lender magically knew with just my name, position, company, and SSN. FWIW


No, I contacted my work to get my ‘work number’, and then gave that to my mortgage lender.


Great idea!


We had some schmuck HR consultant come in to a startup I was previously working for and their primary job duty was implementing ADP.

Glad to know they chose a product that involuntarily sold out my HR information.


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