On January 6, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued a California-based mortgage broker for allegedly disclosing the personal information of customers who left negative Yelp reviews, and filed a settlement of the claims.
According to the complaint, Ramon Walker is the owner and operator of Mortgage Solutions FCS, Inc., a broker connecting residential mortgage lenders with prospective borrowers. In providing its services, Mortgage Solutions allegedly obtains personal information directly from its customers and from their credit reports.
In response to negative customer reviews on Yelp, Walker allegedly posted comments that disclosed many reviewers’ personal information. The complaint explains that Walker’s comments, publicly available on Yelp, discussed the reviewers’ “sources of income, debt-to-income ratios, credit history, taxes, family relationships, and health.” For example, one comment disclosed a reviewer’s missed and late payments to banks, and publicly stated, “[a]ll of these late payments are having an enormous negative impact on your credit score.”
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