“Renting” Credit History – Legal or Fraud?

Adding a child or spouse onto an existing credit card has always been a great way to help that person build credit history. However, over the last few years there are companies that now exploit this practice, and according to some government officials and lenders, to the point of fraud.

They don’t call themselves “credit repair companies” but essentially that is what they are. These companies solicit individuals with good credit histories to “rent” out authorized user spots on their credit cards. The company acts as a broker for these individuals and charges individuals looking to boost their scores up to $1200 per authorized user spot. The borrower instantly gets credit history associated with that card and can boost their scores, sometimes dramatically, in a very short period of time.The borrower never has access to the card, but the have access to the credit history associated with it. This “piggybacking” is causing concern for not only federal and state authorities but lenders.

According to the Washington D.C. based Consumer Federation of America: If a consumer tried to borrower money or get a loan based on these “enhanced” scores this could constitute loan fraud. While it is legal to add someone as an authorized user on an existing credit card, the person utilizing the benefits of that may be doing something essentially illegal. If not illegal, certainly it’s unethical. They are trying to get a loan based on credit history that not only doesn’t belong to them but they paid someone for it. More and more lenders are starting to be aware of this and have begun heavy scrutinizing of credit reports to see if any of the credit accounts have an “A” (authorized user) for the ECOA code.

There are literally dozens of these companies out there. Companies like:Seasonedcredit.org, Synergizedcredit.com, Drerocredithelp.com, Boostmyscore.net, Newcreditsolutions.com, Instantcredittradelines.com, Addpositivecredit.com,Stwcredit.com

The credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) have also taken note of this loophole and are changing their scoring models so that AU accounts will be excluded from the scoring models, which will put a lot of these companies out of business.

There are a number of legal and ethical actions a person can take to improve their score. Granted it might not be quick, and it may take time, but eventually you can get there. Quick fixes like this can be risky and once the FTC finishes their investigation into this practice it could not only be risky but truly illegal. For information on helping borrowers improve their score please go to www.advcredit.com and click on “consumer credit help”.