Skip tracers and Data Brokers are under the microscope of the U.S. Senate and the Federal Trade Commission. If they follow through on their proposed actions skip tracing will get harder.
On December 18, 2013, The United Sates Senate held a hearing reviewing data brokers: “A Review of the Data Broker Industry: Collection, Use, and Sale of Consumer Data for Marketing Purposes.” The director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, a Senate committee witness, revealed the FTC will release its own report on the data broker industry in 2014.
Specifically the Senate looked at:
- What data about consumers does the data broker industry collect?
- How specific is this data?
- How does the data broker industry obtain consumer data?
- Who buys this data and how is it used?
Targets of the committee’s probe—Equifax Inc., Epsilon, Acxiom Corp, Experian Plc, TransUnion LLC, Reed Elsevier NV, Spokeo, Datalogix and Rapleaf—were asked to respond to questions about the consumer information they collect, how it’s obtained, and who can purchase and use it.
What Did The Senate Discover?
The Senate committee’s report peels back the layers of the data broker industry and highlights where it views current laws as being inadequate. They discovered:
- Data brokers collect a huge volume of detailed information on hundreds of millions of consumers.
- Data brokers sell products that identify financially vulnerable consumers.
- Data broker products provide information about consumer offline behavior to tailor online outreach by marketers.
- Data brokers operate behind a veil of secrecy
Are You Prepared?
The report concludes with a call for continued “vigorous” oversight of the industry. Are you prepared for such an increase in scrutiny? How will you adapt so that you can succeed?
We have created a guide that covers potential changes in the data broker industry that will affect your skip tracing operations. It includes suggested strategies to help you increase your success, in a new era of regulation. Download BellesLink’s “A Magic Skip Tracing Button Doesn’t Exist: How to succeed as skip tracing gets harder,” and find out what you can do to be prepared if the U.S. Senate follows through with their oversight.