How your Facebook profile can affect your credit

Published: Monday, November 02, 2015 @ 6:12 PM
Updated: Monday, November 02, 2015 @ 6:12 PM

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Many people are guilty of over-sharing on Facebook -- whether they realize it or not -- and the potential consequences of what people post on social media are getting even worse.

There once was a time when the only thing at stake was your reputation, but those days are long gone. Most people are well aware of the potential risks of social media these days, and it's no secret that a Facebook post can get you fired from a job or prevent you from getting a job in the future.

But your Facebook profile now poses a new threat -- to your credit score.

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According to a report by the Financial Times, some of the top credit rating companies are now using people's social media accounts to assess their ability to repay debt. So if you want to be able to qualify for a loan and borrow money, this is just another reason to avoid saying certain things on Facebook.

“If you look at how many times a person says ‘wasted’ in their profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt,” Will Lansing, chief executive at credit rating company FICO, told the FT. "It's not much, but it's more than zero."

Lansing said FICO is working with credit card companies to use several different methods for deciding what size loans people can handle, and using non-traditional sources like social media allows them to collect information on people who don't have an in-depth credit history. According to the FT, both FICO and TransUnion have had to find alternative ways to assess people who don't have a traditional credit profile -- including people who haven't borrowed enough to give creditors an idea of what kind of risk they pose.

According to Lansing, FICO is "increasingly looking at data on a spectrum" to determine an individual's credit-worthiness -- with credit card repayment history being the most important factor on one end and information volunteered via social media on the other end.

And social media isn't the only alternative source factoring in to people's credit-worthiness. Credit rating companies are also using individuals' payment history on phone bills, utility bills and even movie rentals. One good sign to creditors is if someone hasn't moved a lot -- which could suggest they've had problems paying rent.

“We can now score the previously un-scoreable,” said Jim Wehmann, executive vice-president for scores at FICO.

And while this may be a great way for more people to get access to loans, it's also a wake-up call for those "previously un-scoreable" people to clean up their digital footprint -- and fast.

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Amazon announces kids-friendly version of Echo

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 2:55 PM

Amazon Announces Version Of Echo Specifically For Kids

The digital assistant Alexa isn’t just for adults. It’s now also for children, since the company has just announced the release of a kids’ version of the gadget

» RELATED: Amazon is working on its first home robot, report says

It’s called the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and it plays music and answers questions for little ones aged 5 to 12. The device also comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited, which offers kid-friendly books and radio stations

“Parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids are getting age-appropriate content, while they listen to music, ask questions, enjoy Audible books, use Alexa skills, and more. We can’t wait for parents and kids to try this out,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president at Amazon Devices and Services, in a press release.

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The smart speakers come with colorful cases that are available in blue, red or green, and parents can employ parental controls with the device. Not only can moms and dads set time limits for use, they can also disable the ability to purchase items from the internet. Songs with inappropriate lyrics are automatically blocked. 

The voice experience is also tailored for kids. It offers the Magic Word feature, which encourages kiddos to use words like “please,” and children can ask Alexa questions about science, math, spelling, definition and even knock-knock jokes.

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is retailed at $79.99 and can be pre-ordered now. Shipping will begin on May 9.

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Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 1:44 PM

Bill Cosby Found Guilty Of Three Counts Of Aggravated Indecent Assault

A jury in Pennsylvania on Thursday found comedian Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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Disneyland tradition runs through generations for one family

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 3:20 PM

Disney Tradition Runs Through Four Generations

There are the families who go to the Disney’s theme parks every year and do all things Disney; then there are the Disney families who make Mickey Mouse’s parks their entire lives.

Kaiden and Mikayla Gerlach are part of the second type of Disney families. They are the latest in a long line of family members who have all answered their calling to work for Disneyland, KABC reported. They’re actually among the 19 members of their family, over four generations, who have worked for Mickey Mouse.

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It all started with Verral Elmer, their great-grandmother. who started working at Disneyland just after it opened in 1955.

She retired after working there for 28 years, KABC reported

Elmer’s daughter Lynne Elmer worked there, too, starting in 1958, and even got to see Walt Disney having breakfast with his grandchildren. 

One of Lynne’s children also worked at the theme park, as did Bill and Sandy Cushing, who met at the park and got married a few years later, KABC reported.

“One of those things that we always had to tell people was that this is the happiest place on earth and we really believe that, and we thought it was and we know it is,” Doug Elmer told KABC

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Guests use Bluetooth technology at Disney hotel to enter rooms

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 3:33 PM

Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.
WFTV.com
Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.(WFTV.com)

Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations.

Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.

The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels.

Previous story: Your smartphone could unlock Disney hotel rooms

Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos.

But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms.

"If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier," Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said.

Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens.

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"They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously," Trum said.

The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks.

Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone.

But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice.

Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe.

Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system.

“We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms," Trum said.

Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years.

The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S.

Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.

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