By Ryan Velez
Bad credit has long been a roadblock to people trying to hit major milestones like buying a home, car, or opening a business. However, a story reported by NBCDFW cautions us not to risk incurring further financial hardship in an attempt to quickly fix one’s credit.
Runako Jinks, a man from Arlington, Texas, was one such man looking to start a business but didn’t have credit anywhere near enough to do so. When looking up ways to improve his credit, he was referred to Lovell Jones, the owner of Credit Coach USA.
“My homeboy said he was cool,” Jinks said. “He said it worked for him. Said it was totally worth the money.”
Credit Coach USA uses a method called “credit piggybacking” that is technically legal, but extremely risky according to credit experts. The concept behind it is that a customer pays to be added to someone else’s credit card account, generally in great financial standing. The primary user is paid by Credit Coach USA, and the new user reaps benefits from their great credit.
“When you think about it, it’s pretty genius,” Jinks said. “So I was like yeah, I’ll do it.” Jinks wired over $2,800 and was told his score would get to 800, but it would take a few months. He thought that this was worth the risk, but when those months, passed, Jinks began to get concerned.
“Months would pass and he said give me two months and you’ll definitely see some results,” said Jinks. “Time kept passing so I called him up and I was like, ‘man what’s going on’? He said, ‘Aw baby. A lot of things have happened.'”
Jinks was told their Citi, Capital One and Discover Cards were shut down, resulting in a backlog of clients that had to switch to different cards, causing a waiting period. Again, Jinks felt that the potential benefits were worth it. After a year with no credit score change, Jinks demanded a refund, but never got his money back. After reading about other people with similar stories, he was shocked to find that Credit Coach’s USA’s website was down and numbers were disconnected. Now, two years after he initially signed up, Jinks’s credit has improved, something he attributes to paying bills on time and signing up for autopay.
NBCDFW provides some advice if you are presented with the opportunity to use the “credit piggybacking” method as Jinks was:
• To do it, you’d have to give the authorized user personal info like your social security number in order to add you to their account.
• If it’s a stranger, that’s a big no-no.
• If a company is telling you to apply for credit using a “CPN” or a “credit profile number,” that’s a big red flag.
• The FTC says companies will use this to advertise a new credit identity, and it’s a big scam. In some cases, businesses may have even stolen social security numbers to make money, which is considered identity theft.