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A Michigan woman has been accused of filing false reports of identity theft as a way to boost people’s credit scores. She and a Detroit police officer who allegedly filed the false police reports face felony charges for the scheme, which supposedly raised some clients’ credit scores by as much as 100 points.

The police officer, 40-year-old Tamboura Jackson, is accused of filing a false report to improve his own credit. Should he be convicted, Jackson may eventually find himself with no credit, as it is quite difficult to maintain a credit history while incarcerated.

The charges Jackson and 34-year-old Lisa Curtis face carry some hefty sentences: up to 20 years for felony racketeering and bribery, 20 years for criminal enterprise-racketeering, 14 years for uttering and publishing and 14 years for forgery. Curtis was charged with one count of bribery of a public official (four years), while Jackson was charged with accepting that bribe (10 years).

As reported by the Detroit News, the operation is said to have started in 2009, when Curtis, a businesswoman, told dozens of her clients she could improve their credit score by filing false police reports, which would say identity theft led to fraudulent credit card charges. Curtis would construct the identity theft stories and give them to Jackson, along with a bribe of between $50 and $200, to file the reports with the credit bureau Experian and request the debts in question be removed from the credit histories.

Clients allegedly paid Curtis between $200 and $1,000 to boost their credit scores, but are believed to be unaware of the requests being sent to Experian.

Both of the accused were arraigned last week and held on $10,000 bond, each. Jackson has been suspended without pay. As for the false police report he filed to improve his own credit history, the report said another officer had signed it without knowing about the alleged scheme.

Identity theft — assuming it’s not fabricated — can devastate one’s credit score, which is why it’s important for consumers to monitor their credit for suspicious activity. A good way to stay on top of this is to monitor your credit scores and your credit reports regularly. Credit.com’s Credit Report Card is one tool that which offers monthly insights into a consumer’s debt profile and credit score. Any sudden changes in your score could indicate fraud.

Of course, if a consumer checks his or her credit and finds a less-than-pleasing picture with legitimate debts, there are ways to rebuild credit. Solutions include paying down debt, using less of one’s available credit, making timely payments and diversifying credit. Note: Criminal activity, such as filing false police reports, is not among these options.

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