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Member advice: How to interpret an Equifax Work Number report.

The HP Alumni Association is not operated by Hewlett-Packard or Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has no access to employment information, and is not able to forward verification requests.

Advice from HP Alumni Association members for those from Hewlett-Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and related companies.

Start at hpalumni.org/verif before using this page.

Set up an Equifax Work Number employee account now -- before an identity thief uses your readily-available birthdate and SSN to do it. Your information is in the database regardless of whether you have set up an account. An identity thief can gain further information for use impersonating you elsewhere -- for example, to file for a tax refund or to get credit (HELOCs and mortgages have been reported.)

- You can check the data in the Equifax Work Number database every year at their Fair Credit Reporting Act page One member discovered dozens of $0 HP paycheck records in their Work Number report -- continuing for five years after their WFR.

- According to respected independent security reporter Brian Krebs, you can freeze and unfreeze access to your employment file at Equifax Work Number. (This is not related to freezing your credit file at the Equifax credit bureau.) He says "Itís not clear what may be the potential consequences."

HPAA member advice on how to interpret the report

The format of the report is standard for the many companies that use that service, but is confusing when you look at your own report.

Your personal copy of an Equifax Work Number report -- as with the free annual credit report -- also lists the organizations that have requested your data in the last two years. As with the credit report, you may find that financial institutions -- and companies that work for them, such as Andera and Equifax -- checked your employment history when you opened a new account or when they renewed or increased the limit on your credit card. The information on who requested your record is provided only to you.

Classification as "retired." If an employee left at 55 or older with at least 10 years of service, or left after 2010 with age-plus-years-of-service of at least 80, or left under an early retirement program -- HP and HPE generally classify the employee as "retired" -- regardless of how they left and whether or not they have any retiree benefits. This is reported to outside payroll and employment verification services, but doesn't seem to have any negative consequences. Inquiries from state Unemployment Dept. claims examiners go to a specific group in HR, which replies via letter. Over the years, members have reported that HP did not block their UI claims. 

Two pieces of pay information are reported by The Equifax Work Number -- neither of which may match the actual pay:

1. "Hourly" field: The last pay level when employed by the company. That amount multiplied by 2080 (the nominal number of working hours per year) yields annual pay rate. For sales-related jobs, the hourly rate includes base pay plus target earnings. This is the primary field used by Equifax Work Number customers to determine employee pay.

2. "Pay" field: Taken from Box 1 from the most recent W-2 as reported to the IRS. In general, this amount includes all income (base pay, commission, bonus, etc.) minus all pre-tax deductions (401k, employee stock purchase, etc.) However, this is from the most recent W-2 -- which may be an amended W-2 or one issued years after the employee left -- covering options, deferred compensation, or other transactions that don't reflect the employee's normal pay.  

You may find that HP reports "Original Hire Date" as the date the employee joined a company that HP acquired -- or as the date the person originally joined another company's IT department that was subsequently taken over by EDS or HP through an outsourcing contract. 

"Termination Date" is the last date covered by this particular report -- even if the person is still working for the same employer but happens to be covered in the Equifax Work Number database under another Employer Code.

If "Employment Status" is given as "TRANSFERRED" -- there should be more recent information in the Equifax Work Number database under another Employer Code. (See the green area of https://www.hpalumni.org/verif for the list of Employer Codes that the HPAA has collected.)

Check the "Employer Disclaimer" section for hints about the company, such as:
"Former Electronic Data Systems (EDS) employees may have previous work history information available under EDS's employer code 11123." or
"Anyone with a transferred status may have more recent information available on The Work Number under HP Inc. employer code 17701."

The "Headquarters Address" -- which was supplied to Equifax Work Number by the employer -- is often out of date. (For example, a 2020 Work Number report "Current as of 10/30/2015" gives 19483 Pruneridge in Cupertino, which was sold to Apple in 2010.)

(Updated Mar 10, 2022.)   Comments welcome. info3@hpalumni.org

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