Home > Credit Score > Can I Let Someone Else Use My Credit Score?

Comments 0 Comments

During times when people need cash, they can get pretty desperate. Especially if they aren’t sure if they have any skills or own anything valuable to sell. But we all hear how good credit opens doors, and, if you’re one of the privileged few who has a high credit score, it might be tempting to try to sell it or let someone else use it.

In fact, someone appears to be trying something along those lines, per an ad Credit.com spotted on Craigslist in Columbus, Ohio, last week. The ad reads:

NEED CREDIT TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE? USE MY 700 FICO SCORE! (NATIONWIDE)

HELLO I’M LOOKING TO USE MY GOOD CREDIT TO HELP SOMEONE INVEST IN REALESTATE DEALS. MUST HAVE A COMPANY AND CASH TO GET STARTED. I WILLING TO BE A PG FOR A FEE ON YOUR BUSINESS TO HELP YOU FLIP HOUSES! ONLY SERIOUS INVESTORS NEED TO RESPOND! MOST HAVE CASH TO SHOW YOU CAN PAY THE LOAN BACK! SO IF YOU HAVE PROJECT PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK.

We’re not sure who the person is, if the person is legitimate or why they are offering to sell their score. But the posting certainly brings up a few questions that we thought would be fun to explore: What could happen if you bought someone else’s credit score? And what could happen if you let someone else use your credit score?

Why You Wouldn’t Want to Buy Someone’s Score

The opportunity to enjoy the perks of a good credit score may seem like a dream come true for someone saddled with bad credit — but it’s important to note it’s really more of a pipe dream.

“There is no way for a one consumer to allow another consumer to use her/his credit score,” says Eric Ellman, senior vice president of Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade group that represents the three major credit reporting agencies. “In essence, this is what happens when criminals violate federal and state crime statutes by perpetrating identity theft.”

Attempting to buy someone else’s credit score opens you to a host of potentially dangerous situations.

“If someone runs an ad like this, they could be a criminal. They could have stolen someone’s information, and are happy to sell you good credit, because it’s not theirs in the first place,” warns identity theft expert Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and author of Swiped, which chronicles the extent of the ID theft problem.

And using the number would actually make you a criminal, says Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian credit bureau.

Since every person who uses credit has their own credit history, you cannot use someone else’s credit report, or credit scores, to qualify for services unless you use their identifying information and not your own, notes Griffin.

Also, “using someone else’s identity to apply for credit is a form of identity theft. Doing so could result in criminal penalties, including fines or potentially imprisonment,” he says.

Not to mention that the person selling their number could be doing it to gain access to your information in order to steal your identity. “They could say, ‘Listen, I’m selling you this information, but I really need to know more information about you. I need to see your Social Security number; let’s run credit reports on both of us.’ And you could end up being a victim of identity theft because of it,” Levin said.

But… Should I Let Someone Else Use My Credit Score?

If you’re selling your score to a stranger, that person will likely be using your most sensitive personal information, not theirs — in order to leverage your good credit score with the intention of securing money.

“They are making certain representations to the lender. And folks don’t have a good view of people who make fraudulent representations in the process of securing a loan,” said Levin.

You’re essentially forming a partnership and could be just as liable as the other person if something goes wrong, said Levin.

For starters, if the person were to successfully obtain a loan using solely your Social Security number, you would be considered responsible for the payments instead of them. Any delinquencies would wind up on your credit reports and damage your credit score. You could also potentially open yourself to having investors, customers or other business partners come after you for debt opened in your name, warns Levin. You could even face collection companies.

“How do you know they’re not setting you up?” he said.

Moreover, lying on credit applications is illegal. (It’s considered fraud.) And you’d be risking being a partner in an identity theft scheme.

There’s no telling where your information could land or what it could get entangled with. It could become associated with a trade line scam, which abuses lines of credit. In Newark, New Jersey, for example, federal agents arrested 13 people in 2013 who were allegedly involved with an international scheme that fabricated identities to obtain credit cards. They doctored credit reports to boost the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards, and went on a spending and borrowing spree, allegedly looting $200 million from businesses and financial institutions with no intention of repaying the loans.

Is It OK to Co-Sign?

Now there are legal ways in which your good credit score could help someone secure a loan — although it certainly doesn’t involve selling your digits to a third party. Some lenders allow people to get a credit assist from a cosigner if their scores or income wouldn’t otherwise justify approval. In that case, both parties are applying for the loan together. The lender determines its parameters when it comes to co-signing.

Keep in mind, if you do co-sign for or open a joint account with a friend or family member, both parties are considered liable for the loan payments. So, if the person you’re helping out doesn’t use the credit line responsibly, it would fall on you to make good — otherwise, your credit scores can suffer. You can learn more about co-signing here.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to monitor your credit to make sure you haven’t unintentionally fallen victim to any schemes or missteps. You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

Image: idealistock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team