The Internet has made everything easy. Easy access, easy information, easy data mining.
What is data mining?
noun Digital Technology
the process of collecting, searching through, and analyzing a large amount of data in a database, as to discover patterns or relationships.
In other words, data mining is the collection of information through a wide variety of sources and gathered into databases. This information can be culled from sources such as the DMV, Facebook, membership cards, and other data providers.
Information gathered is often utilized by marketing companies to make “predictions” based on past behavior and thus inform how a particular thing, such as a consumer product or movie, should be marketing to a “specific” segment of population based on statistical data.
A recent on-line article speaks to this:
Every day, without even knowing it, you share intimate personal details about your life with people you’ve never met. The medical symptoms you search online follow you: first to the pharmacy where you pick up a prescription, then to a database of specialists looking to add you as a patient, or to an insurance company creating a risk pool. The car you’ve researched on the Web has been broadcast to your local dealerships before you’ve even left the house. When you walk in the door, the salesman already knows which color you want—as well as your salary and driving history—and pulls the shiny new car of your dreams around front. http://prospect.org/article/meet-stalkers
Within background screening industry databases are often used. However, they are but one piece of information a third-party background screening company relies upon. Most viable and legally compliant third-party background screening companies utilize a network of county court researchers to provide up-to-date and current information. Further, they have the ability and legal obligation to review all data provided to property managers, landlords, companies, and individuals both for their legality and validity.
However, there are companies and Internet Websites that claim to provide low-cost information that seemingly could be used for tenant screening purposes, but landlords and property managers should remain cautious.
In 2012 Spokeo was fined by the FTC in the amount of $800,000 for misrepresenting information and marketing data in direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Information found on the internet through databases may be outdated, erroneous, or misappropriated. Landlords and property managers should work with third-party providers to ensure the data gathered and the manner it is gathered remains lawful.
Background-check companies must follow the same rules as the credit bureaus: Namely, they must obtain authorization by the subject of a background check before the check is run and provide the results of those checks once a year free of charge to anyone who asks, a valuable consumer protection against wanton abuse and fraud. http://prospect.org/article/meet-stalkers
Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “People should really think twice about what they put on-line, especially in social media, places like Facebook. But information can be gathered from almost anywhere.” Almeida also cautions landlords and property managers from relying on databases as the only means of gathering information. “Especially with credit checks, potential tenants have rights that must be observed and certain releases signed before information can be legally collected.”
Ultimately, in the data age it is best to work with people. At TenantScreeningUSA.com highly trained operators are ready to work with the exacting needs and requirements of landlords and property managers. Utilized in a legal way databases can be valuable, but one has to know the laws that govern information use. Contact TenantScreeningUSA.com today to get started.