|HUD No. 21-185
HUD Public Affairs
November 10, 2021
HUD APPLAUDS CFPB’S ACTIONS TO STOP FALSE-IDENTITY MATCHING
False identity matching leads to qualified applicants being screened out of rental housing.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) applauds the Consumer Financal Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recent advisory opinion, which affirmed that consumer reporting agencies, including tenant and employment screening companies, violate the law when utilizing name-matching procedures that lead to false-identity matching.
“At a time when rental markets are tight and the hard-hitting impact of the pandemic continues to linger, especially in communities of color, we cannot tolerate practices that screen out qualified applicants who are seeking the housing they and their families need,” said Demetria McCain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “We support the CFPB’s action to put an end to these practices, which will help our nation recover from the economic impact of the pandemic in a racially equitable manner. Our Department remains committed to ensuring all communities—especially those most impacted by non-inclusive policies and procedures—have a fair opportunity to secure housing for themselves and their families.”
The CFPB and federal courts have consistently found that the use of name-only matching procedures—when a consumer reporting company uses only first and last name to determine whether a particular item of information relates to a particular consumer, without using other personally identifying information such as address, date of birth, or Social Security number—fails to ensure maximum possible accuracy of consumer information.
False-identity matching harms a qualified rental applicant when they have the same name as another individual who has negative credit history. Specifically, the CFPB affirmed that the practice of matching consumer records solely through the matching of names is illegal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Hispanic, Black, and Asian rental applicants are at greater risk of denial because surnames of people from these communities tend to be less diverse than non-Hispanic whites.