The three national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union are examples of datafurnishing companies. There are other agencies which are not as well known. The largest of these (outside of the credit bureaus) is called ChoicePoint, a LexisNexis Company; ChoicePoint and LexisNexis were once separate datafurnishing agencies that have subsequently merged.
Datafurnishing companies and the credit bureaus sell consumer private records information to smaller datafurnishing agencies such as Merlin Information Services, Source Resources, KnowX, Accurint, Abika and the information brokers who operate them for a fee. The information broker and datafurnishing agents then repackage the consumer private records and then re-sell them to the general public for the price that the market will bear.
Thus your personal information can wend its way from the credit bureau to a high-tech investigator hired to find it with no input from you.
While datafurnishers in theory are supposed to know why the information is being passed on and to whom, in reality they tend to plead that they are incapable of storing all that information and those records have been erased. There are no laws currently in place to make them take responsibility.
The above piece is seventh in a series of nine articles on women and cyberstalking written for About.com by cyberstalking expert Alexis A. Moore, founder of the national advocacy group Survivors in Action. Links to the entire series are below.
Cyberstalking Article Index:
- What is Cyberstalking?
- When Stalking Goes Online - Examples of Cyberstalking
- Cyberstalking and Women - Facts and Statistics
- "I Was a Victim of Cyberstalking" - One Woman's Story
- Cyberstalking, Spyware, and Privacy Protection
- Cyberstalking and Your Credit Rating
- What is Datafurnishing?
- How Cyberstalkers Obtain Your Personal Information
- 12 Tips To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalking