The Work Number, a service of Equifax and a provider of verified employment and income verifications (VOE / VOI), has announced the release of self-employed verifications, a solution that helps qualify the nearly one in nine American workers classified as self-employed for loans and other forms of credit. With employment and income related misrepresentation continuing to top the list of fraud types that undermine loan quality, financial institutions and their secondary investors and regulators are increasingly diligent regarding oversight of employment verification. The Work Number’s database of more than 250 million payroll records has facilitated automated verification of salaried employees for years, but verifying employment for self-employed individuals has proven manual and more difficult. Leveraging The Work Number’s highly trained staff of researched verification agents—who provide manual verification services whenever an applicant’s data is not instantly available—lenders can now receive a VOE for a self-employed applicant, complete with document images of the individual’s business listing from a state regulatory site, and general business information from a trusted, third-party source. If requested, The Work Number can also contact the applicant’s tax preparer to provide a comprehensive report to the financial institution/lender. “Self-employed VOEs are an important component of our complete employment and income verification solution,” said Janet Ford, senior vice president of The Work Number. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 15 million Americans are self-employed, and generally do not have standard payroll documentation, such as W-2s. Our goal is to help financial institutions and our other clients rapidly and independently verify stated employment claims of the self-employed without incurring additional risk, administrative cost, or compliance concerns. The Work Number employs a uniform and auditable research process in completing self-employed VOEs, conducted by an experienced team of employer validation, contact and transcription specialists. All information obtained during fulfillment is systemically recorded and documented. The service provides a competitive advantage over existing options by reducing training time, management oversight and resource strain, while improving productivity and ensuring a consistent methodology is followed on every verification.