CFPB recruits for “surveillance activities”

A recruitment ad for the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seeks investigators qualified to “establish and conduct surveillance activity to develop both intelligence and evidence to further investigations,” for matters that include “delicate matters, issues and investigative problems for which there are few, if any, established criteria.” Among the job duties: retain and oversee private investigators who might pose as consumers of financial services.

A similar plan at the Department of Health and Human Services was scrapped last year after some members of Congress complained that it amounted to spying. Health officials wanted to send “mystery shoppers” into doctors’ offices to gauge Medicaid and Medicare patients’ access to primary care physicians.

The agency says it intends to operate in accord with law and respect individuals’ privacy rights. [Washington Times via Kevin Funnell]


  • From the article:

    “We anticipate that the type of information gathered generally will be information available to the general public.”


    Generally, if you want to know if a particular practice participates in Medicare, Medicaid or any other health plan, all you have to do is ask – they’ll be happy to tell you. Overpaid government investigator “mystery shoppers” are not necessary. But doing things in the least expensive, most direct fashion doesn’t seem to be a strong point with government.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, when I visited my ophthalmologist, I asked him if his practice accepted Medicaid patients. His answer? “Not anymore. They didn’t pay us for over a year, and when we finally did get paid, it didn’t cover expenses. So we decided we’d rather take the time off than waste it working for nothing.”

    Anyway, there’s no law that requires private medical practices to accept Medicare or Medicaid patients.

  • Will this person ultimately work for “The Ministry of Love?”

  • retail uses secret shoppers all the time and it works. The banks also record phone calls for quality assurance and their message needs to includ both parties on the phone so anybody can record the call. Then people can go to Walmart and for $30.00 get a good recorder for their phone and show how they are being treated. This would stop a lot of phone abuse and would solve a huge problem.

  • hmmm, I used to work for a bank, and the income looks significantly better than I make at my current job, wonder if I would qualify….