People with bad credit can rent access to good credit trade lines by paying to have their names added to credit cards whose primary holders have stellar credit ratings, high limits, and perfect payment histories.
The companies that handle the transactions claim that it will cause FICO scores to increase when the credit reporting agencies add the credit card information to the credit purchaser’s credit report.
Although it appears to be primarily a mortgage fraud issue for borrowers with poor credit history, the same scam can be used to fool any vendor who sells based on credit scores.
In other words, don’t take FICO scores at face value. They can be rigged by the person with whom you’re doing business.
Hat tip to Kenneth R. Harney at the Washington Post.