Friday, November 7, 2008

"When you're a rock star, you get to party hard..."

I know every lyric to the TV commercial. Brilliant retention-guaranteed campaign (probably because it's aired every other hour). is actually the alias of, an Experian company. Experian is one of the three main national credit report bureaus, along with Equifax and TransUnion, that provides consumers with credit reports, credit scores, identity theft insurance and fraud resolution solutions.

And the ads are somewhat misleading. A friend paid a visit to the website recently; all he got for free was his Experian credit score, not report. And no data from Equifax or TransUnion.

$29 later, he DID receive all three scores and reports. FYI, if you apply for a credit card and are denied, you are entitled to receive all three reports gratis directly from the respective bureaus.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Palin Comparison

The Washington Post quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis as saying the FBI conducted a background check of Palin.

But the FBI told the Atlantic Monthly no such check took place.

"In general, we do not do vetting for political campaigns except as it might regard investigations needed for security clearances," the magazine's Web site quoted John Miller, the chief FBI spokesman. If the agency had conducted a security check of Palin, it wouldn't have shared it with the campaign, the magazine said.

Previous vice presidential picks -- even those with long records in national politics -- have come under much closer scrutiny. In 2000, Democratic nominee Al Gore picked Joe Lieberman after a vetting process that lasted about 10 months, including poring through some 800 legal opinions Lieberman had been involved with as Connecticut Attorney General.

The New York Times reported that other surprises surfaced involving Palin: that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaskan Independence Party, which at times supported secession for Alaska, and that her husband Todd was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

Wev Shea, the U.S. Attorney in Alaska during the administration of the first George Bush and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, said he was contacted in March by a friend with connections to McCain and asked what he thought about Palin.

Shea, who advised Palin, including drafting a White Paper on ethics for her incoming administration, said he responded enthusiastically, but didn't believe that was part of a vetting process. Shea said the contact came as an e-mail from Daniel Bent, the former U.S. Attorney in Honolulu, after Palin attended a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, during which she met McCain. Aside for that one e-mail in March, Shea said, he received no follow-up questions.

Bent said he couldn't recall exactly how Palin's name came to him, but sent Shea's response to a confidante of McCain, Orson Swindle. Asked whether what he did could be considered vetting Palin, Bent said, "No, no. It was just passing it on to the McCain campaign."

Dan Seamount, who served with Palin on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, wasn't contacted. "I was taken by surprise just like everybody else," Seamount told the Daily News. Seamount, a geologist who still serves on the commission, said he would have never guessed Palin's future based on what she said at the time.

"She always told me that she thought that she wasn't going anywhere politically," Seamount said.

Palin's overriding interests at the time were about Alaska, Seamount continued. She expressed some concerns about terrorism, but if she had any opinions on the war in Iraq, he couldn't recall. Palin never talked about traveling outside the country, he said.

"She seemed mostly a local person," he said. "Most of what we talked about was Alaska issues."
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Props to U.S. Search

OMG I'm finally a blog-head! This is the first of many posts on Background Found, the preferred site for info, news and commentary on background- and people-search services. This is also one of several consumer-interest blogs under my new online performance publishing umbrella, Publiss, which will include beauty, dating, travel, finance and gossip communities. Please forgive the rudimentary design, I literally signed onto WordPress yesterday, but transferred all my blogs over to Blogger...much more flexible platform.

So anyhoos, I'm a 20-year consumer and trade publishing/new media veteran, as well as a graphic designer and copywriter. Been in Manhattan for 7 years. A few months back, I accepted a freelance design gig from a former co-worker; putting together a kickass Powerpoint presentation (name withheld to protect the skanky...let's call him Mr. Stiffy, cuz that's what he eventually tried to do to me, stiff me). He called me in a panic, saying he needed the project turned around in a matter of hours. I took Mr. Stiffy out to breakfast, we discussed the content, and he asked how much. I told him 5 hours at $50/hour, so $250 total. Mr. Stiffy is an independent job recruiter...I was looking for a full-time gig, and offered to barter my services; he agreed to review my resume and shop it around, in exchange for my fee.

Completed the presentation by deadline and Mr. Stiffy "loved it." I emailed the final file off to him, and then the BS began. I emailed him the following week, asked how the Powerpoint went over, reminded him to help with my job response. TWO MONTHS LATER, I emailed him an invoice, with a friendly note reminding him of our barter, informing him he broke our agreement, and telling him I had no need of his "services" going forward. He actually wrote back, and said he'd "call me" (never did) to discuss the invoice, which he found "funny."

Well, he's not laughing now. Filed a small claims suit and won; Mr. Stiffy didn't even bother to show up for court. I don't blame him. I was trying to find his home address on, and was directed to U.S. Search, a background checking service. The curiosity was irresistible; I paid the $40, and BOY what a rap sheet! Tons of addresses, aliases, and creditors who've filed similar suits. I had questions about the report, and the U.S. Search customer service team couldn't have been nicer or more knowledgeable or more responsive. Thanks U.S. Search! You gave me the ammo I needed to win my case!
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