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Credit reporting agencies and marketing firms collect information about people that is then used to target and categorize them into consumer groups. Credit reporting agencies and marketing firms collect information about people that is then used to target and categorize them into consumer groups. A new report from the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation says that credit agencies like Experian, Equifax and TransUnion along with many marketing firms create and maintain databases on consumer habits of almost every household in the United States.Chris Calabrese from the American Civil Liberties Union is quoted assaying: “It's this integration of information, and using the fact thatthey know so much more about us than we know about their practices, totake advantage of consumers who may be vulnerable. Consumers'information is being gathered without their consent and it's beingharmed or lost when it's stolen.” The lists put groups of people into categories based on their incomeor consumer habits, so that companies can market different products orservices according to how the person is listed. The names of the categories they use are stereotypical descriptionsfor lower income families like “Rural and barely making it,” or“Ethnic Second City Strugglers.” At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum are what reports referto as “American Royalty,” or the “Established Elite.”