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Fill out an application for a loan, and your wage history may go places you didn't expect.
Fill out an application for a loan, and your wage history may go places you didn't expect. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
If you've earned a paycheck in recent years, you'll probably want want to know about this:
The Equifax credit reporting agency, NBC News reports, has collected 190 million employment and salary records on about one-third of U.S. adults and has sold some of the information "to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities."
Robert Mather, who runs a small employment background company named Pre-Employ.com, tells the network that "it's the biggest privacy breach in our time, and it's legal and no one knows it's going on. ... It's like a secret CIA."
In an email to NBC News, Equifax says it complies with Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines, that the companies buying the information "must have a permissible purpose" and that consumers give the companies the OK to get the data when they apply for credit. Presumably, the OK is in the fine print.