Companies Rate You Based on Your Secret Consumer Score

And now you can find out what it is

consumer score
Companies hire other companies to track and score your online behavior.
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By Kayla Kibbe / November 5, 2019 6:23 am

Like credit scores, we all have secret consumer scores based on hidden files companies keep of our online behavior and transactions. If this is news to you, you’re not alone. The New York Times has called these systems “largely invisible to the public,” while the Wall Street Journal writes that “most people have no inkling they even exist.”

Companies like Sift and Zeta Global compile files on consumers that track their behavior and help companies determine whether customers can be trusted. The data these companies obtain and file is used by companies like Airbnb, Yelp and Sephora to identify stolen credit cards and prevent fraud.

While these systems remain little known, you can contact consumer scoring companies in order to obtain your own files, Kashmir Hill reported for the New York Times. Thanks in part to the California Consumer Privacy Act, set to go into effect in 2020, consumer scoring companies are becoming more willing to provide information to the consumers they track. Companies including Sift, Zeta Global, Retail Equation, Riskified and Kustomer say they will produce data upon request, but the process can be lengthy and require proof of identity.

According to Hill, the report he obtained from Sift didn’t include a “credit-score-type number at the top,” but rather featured a breakdown of transactions with individual percentage ratings indicating whether the behavior was “abuse”or “not abuse,” “normal” or “fraud” or “account takeover” versus “not account takeover.”

“Behind the scenes, we’re trying to create connections between fraudulent accounts,” explained Jason Tan, the chief executive of Sift. “We’re not looking at the data. It’s just machines and algorithms doing this work. But it’s incredible what machines can do when they can look under every stone.”

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