Author Topic: Selling Tradelines / Piggybacking Part II: $1000+/hr, 20-40k/yr. Side Gig  (Read 1048691 times)

HipGnosis

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So do I have this right?  The old company is now using Elan Financial Services credit cards?  For some reason I thought those credit cards weren't able to be used by the tradeline companies, at least the new company didn't seem to be able to use them. Why is the old company now able to?
Where did you read that they can/do?

katsiki

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I contacted old TL company when ARS indicated that they take elan cards.  She said that they are not taking cards less than 5 years old BUT they would take this one because of few elan cards.  So, YMMV.

secondcor521

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Added an AU yesterday to my Barclay's card.  Everything went smoothly.  This is my seventh AU on this card since 1/1/17.

Got a message today from a Barclay's security analyst wanting me to verify some recent activity on my account and gave me a toll free number to call back.

Do you think the AU will post if I don't call back?  I'm inclined not to call.

elysianfields

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You can call and add the SSN, but I never have. I do add their address as an optional field, to help ensure it posts. (It does not send them a card to that address ever.)

Thanks @arebelspy  & @katsiki , we'll see how it goes.  Cheers!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 01:26:32 PM by elysianfields »

BikeFanatic

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Secondcor, I would call them they just want to verify purchases that has happened to me before.
However if the charges are fraudulent, then they will have to shut the card down. But they will re issue a new card and likley reissue to your AU a new card as well.

secondcor521

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Secondcor, I would call them they just want to verify purchases that has happened to me before.
However if the charges are fraudulent, then they will have to shut the card down. But they will re issue a new card and likley reissue to your AU a new card as well.

Thanks.  I checked with New Company and that's what they said too.  I did make a charge about the same time I added this AU.  I thought maybe they'd start asking tough questions about my AU history that I hadn't really thought through how to handle.

bernardnb

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So discover credited my rewards to my card on the statement after the statement in which they closed my account

Now waiting to see how long it takes to get a check

Shouldn't take "too long", guessing about a month.  My card got shutdown on March 8th and had the check with my remaining bonus around April 12th or 13th.

lexde

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I’m with old company and just got my first sale! I don’t see the AU’s SSN/DOB though, where do I find that on the website? I just see their full name.

ditkanate

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Iím with old company and just got my first sale! I donít see the AUís SSN/DOB though, where do I find that on the website? I just see their full name.

There should be a shaded square showing your card details above where it lists your Order History.  I have 2 cards listed with them so i have 2 shaded squares. 
_____________________
| Lender: Citibank           |
| Limit: $15,000              |
| Statement Date: 15th    |
|Date Opened: 8/1/2008  |
|Spots Sold: 1 of 2          |
-----------------------------

There should be a red triangle in the upper right corner of that box.  When you click it the AU info pops up.  Took me a bit to figure that out too. 

lexde

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@ditkanate — thanks!



I feel weird about adding my AU. His name seems fake and he’s 70 years old. I ran a background check just out of curiosity and only his current address shows up.

It looks like this is probably a fake person. :-/ I have never had such a scarce pull from my background checks even for undocumented non residents...

Padonak

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@lexde, what web sites do you use for background checks?

arebelspy

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That's weird.

Definitely don't add them if you aren't comfortable.

I'd contact the tradeline company and ask what verification they did. It may just be an old person who never had much use for credit before, but now wants to boost their credit to do a reverse mortgage or something. They likely have talked with the AU.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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lexde

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Selling Tradelines / Piggybacking Part II: $1000+/hr, 20-40k/yr. Side Gig
« Reply #2462 on: May 15, 2018, 12:38:09 PM »
@lexde, what web sites do you use for background checks?
Westlaw.

Edited to add: typical results are +/- 30-70 pages depending on age, moves, bankruptcies, criminal or civil records, etc. This one was 2-3 lines with name and current address.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 12:46:50 PM by lexde »

lexde

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That's weird.

Definitely don't add them if you aren't comfortable.

I'd contact the tradeline company and ask what verification they did. It may just be an old person who never had much use for credit before, but now wants to boost their credit to do a reverse mortgage or something. They likely have talked with the AU.
Thanks. I’ll reach out and ask!

katsiki

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I have had a couple of older folks.  Oldest was 89, I think.  It all worked out (so far anyway!)

You may not want to mention the westlaw lookup.  That may violate your agreement or theirs.

lexde

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I have had a couple of older folks.  Oldest was 89, I think.  It all worked out (so far anyway!)

You may not want to mention the westlaw lookup.  That may violate your agreement or theirs.
Well yeah. I wasn’t going to say exactly what I did just that I had some concerns. But it should be fine, I added them so we will see how it goes.

secondcor521

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@ditkanate ó thanks!



I feel weird about adding my AU. His name seems fake and heís 70 years old. I ran a background check just out of curiosity and only his current address shows up.

It looks like this is probably a fake person. :-/ I have never had such a scarce pull from my background checks even for undocumented non residents...

Can you be more specific?  (Obviously without giving the AU name publicly.)

beekayworld

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Westlaw.

Edited to add: typical results are +/- 30-70 pages depending on age, moves, bankruptcies, criminal or civil records, etc. This one was 2-3 lines with name and current address.

Maybe he's a new immigrant to the country.


lexde

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Westlaw.

Edited to add: typical results are +/- 30-70 pages depending on age, moves, bankruptcies, criminal or civil records, etc. This one was 2-3 lines with name and current address.

Maybe he's a new immigrant to the country.
That's my guess at this point. :-)

robartsd

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Potentially not even a real person.  Synthetic identity fraud is a real thing.

https://frankonfraud.com/fraud-trends/is-credit-repair-fueling-the-rise-in-synthetic-id-fraud/

short answer: Some (lots?) of these tradeline buyers aren't real people at all.  They're fake identities created with fake numbers, which then use tradelines to artificially inflate their credit scores, then they take out huge loans and credit debts which they then promptly default on.  It's a scam, and we're all supporting it.  Ask the FBI:  https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/newark/press-releases/2013/eighteen-people-charged-in-international-200-million-credit-card-fraud-scam

Alternately, some of these "credit repair" companies are doing what they call "file segregation" for a client, which is basically the same thing except there's a real person behind it who wants to keep their new fake credit profile clean instead of cashing out and burning it.  They change the IDs enough to generate a second credit report for the same individual, but in order to get the second profile up and running they need to buy your credit payment history (your tradeline) so that the new profile isn't worthless to them.  Details:  https://nacso.org/news/credit-scams-avoid/
Looks like the only thing that is real for someone involved in Synthetic ID Fraud is their name and age. According to the article Sol linked, to the process involves finding a SSN that has no credit report yet (most likely issued to a child) then applying for credit using that number to create a new credit file. For this to work nothing on the application should link back to the real credit file (by using phone number, email address, mailing address that has never been previously associated with the person's name and the false SSN). Creates a nice clean credit file which piggybacking fills with a credit history.

@arebelspy can you explain what measures the recommended companies use to prevent sales to someone trying to use this process to "rebuild" their credit?

arebelspy

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@arebelspy can you explain what measures the recommended companies use to prevent sales to someone trying to use this process to "rebuild" their credit?

Unfortunately I can't share details, because much of what I've been told is proprietary, but suffice it to say, these two companies are the only ones I've found with measures that I personally found comforting (both in what techniques are done, and in how they document and preserve this in case a future investigation/audit occurs) versus all the others I looked in to. Many don't do much, if anything, sadly; they don't care about facilitating fraud, or leaving their cardholders exposed to risk.

If you are interested in this though, you should definitely reach out to them individually and ask about it, they are willing to share (I just can't share for them). Hope that makes sense. :)

Still, their success rate won't be 100% on catching this stuff (which again is where their procedures and documentation is important, because if something DOES slip through, having proof that you do try to stop fraud and aren't purposefully facilitating fraud is important), which is why I always encourage people not to add an AU if you feel uncomfortable with it, and to reach out to the company to let them know why, in case they need to do more in that particular case.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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dragoncar

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Having just had a child, is there anything I should do to protect his SSN?  Like add him as an AU on my card, create an SSN online account.  Besides checking his credit report regularly

Also can I get him a good enough credit history to bust out and walk away with millions?  Leaving him to hold the bag

arebelspy

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Yeah, add him as an AU to start building his credit (though you can do it later--the whole point of piggybacking is it gives them the whole history of the card later) and then lock his credit profile so people can't apply for something in his name.

Congrats, DC!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

px4shooter

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That's weird.

Definitely don't add them if you aren't comfortable.

I'd contact the tradeline company and ask what verification they did. It may just be an old person who never had much use for credit before, but now wants to boost their credit to do a reverse mortgage or something. They likely have talked with the AU.

As someone else said, these are ripe with synthetic identities being created. While not illegal in every state, the laws are quickly catching up.

hgjjgkj

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The new company is continuously trying to add 3 AUs to BoA cards. Just getting more cavalier and more dangerous all the time.

frugalnacho

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@ditkanate ó thanks!



I feel weird about adding my AU. His name seems fake and heís 70 years old. I ran a background check just out of curiosity and only his current address shows up.

It looks like this is probably a fake person. :-/ I have never had such a scarce pull from my background checks even for undocumented non residents...

Is this his address?


lexde

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Had my second spot sold today, too. Nice!

frozen

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The new company is continuously trying to add 3 AUs to BoA cards. Just getting more cavalier and more dangerous all the time.
The first time I added 3 users to BofA I was immediately shut down. This was in 2016.

katsiki

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Had my second spot sold today, too. Nice!

Awesome!  That was fast - they must have really needed more cards.  Hopefully, others will see more activity too.

ravevan

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Is it every wise to make a few small charges on AU's card after you get it in the mail? Does that make it any less suspicious for the CC companies? Thanks.

ducky19

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Is it every wise to make a few small charges on AU's card after you get it in the mail? Does that make it any less suspicious for the CC companies? Thanks.

I have never done this and have only had one Capital One card restricted (recently had the restriction removed) and no cards shut down. There's really no need.

robartsd

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Yeah, add him as an AU to start building his credit (though you can do it later--the whole point of piggybacking is it gives them the whole history of the card later) and then lock his credit profile so people can't apply for something in his name.

Congrats, DC!
It is a good idea to establish a credit profile matching your child's name and SSN as soon as you have the SSN issued. Until there is a credit profile, all the credit agencies can tell is that the SSN has been issued - making it easier for someone else to establish a profile with that SSN in their own name.

secondcor521

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In other news, I have a negative data point to report.

After adding an AU last week from New Company, Barclay's has put a security hold on my account with them.  Based on advice from New Company, I called in and spoke with a security analyst who began asking pointed questions about my AUs.  Since I wasn't prepared, I hung up on them.  They tried to call me back and I elected not to answer.  I'm seeking input from New Company as to how to proceed.  Until I hear from them my plan will be to not talk to Barclay's, rest that card with New Company, and then call Barclay's after my current AU's term is up and see if I can get them to remove the security hold.

This was my seventh AU I added to this card since 1/1/17, all through New Company, never more than 2 AU's at any one time.

RedwoodDreams

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Hope Barclays isn't catching on the way Discover seems to have. Those slots have sold reliably well for me.

In other news, my Barclays card listed with old TL company is an LL BEAN Visa, and I just noticed a statement on their card home page that they're changing the card over to Citibank. Old TL co. says they'll just change it over because they do accept Citibank, but just fyi in case anyone else has an LL Bean Visa in one of these systems.

elysianfields

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Hope Barclays isn't catching on the way Discover seems to have. Those slots have sold reliably well for me.

In other news, my Barclays card listed with old TL company is an LL BEAN Visa, and I just noticed a statement on their card home page that they're changing the card over to Citibank. Old TL co. says they'll just change it over because they do accept Citibank, but just fyi in case anyone else has an LL Bean Visa in one of these systems.

Good catch, mine is an LL Cool Bean card as well.  Thanks for sharing this!

ducky19

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The only problem with that is the card will show up as a new account in your credit report - it won't carry the age from the old card. You'll have to wait for a year at least for it to age enough to be in the system. I had a Hilton Citi card that sold reliably well that was transitioned to AmEx (rendering it useless for TL). It showed up on my credit report as a new account.

PointsLawyer

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Hi everybody, long time MMM reader, first time posting. I'm a lawyer who represents consumers against large businesses (often banks). I recently had a client who was shut down for Piggybacking on a Discover Card. To bring me up to speed when we started, he linked me to this thread. I'm writing this because I learned some info during the representation that I want to share with everybody as a cautionary tale. (If you read to the end of this, you'll see that I don't think too much caution is warranted.) I've shared this with others, and they've found it helpful.

First, the boring disclaimer. Nothing in here is legal advice. I'm not your lawyer. Your legal rights are important, and you should talk to a lawyer with legal questions. I'm not trying to solicit business--just providing information. (But if you want to ask me a question about a potential claim or anything, by all means send me a message. Maybe I can help.)

A little background. One of the areas I litigate in is the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The Act was originally passed to prohibit discrimination in lending. But there's a second component of the ECOA that I've litigated with lots of success. If a bank closes down your credit product (and think outside of the box--this includes those lines of credit that come with checking accounts), the bank MUST give you a "specific reason" for why you were closed. I find a lot of banks don't do this (or the reason they give is too vague (or outright wrong).

A client had a piggybacking operation rolling, and that member had his/her cards closed (and those of relatives who were also Piggybacking). The client has a closure letter from Discover that says the account is being closed because Discover "Can No Longer Provide Your Servicing Needs." My position is that this wasn't a specific reason for closure as required by ECOA, and off to the races we go.

But here's why I wanted to write this post. The entire time we've been discussing these claims, there were hints and implication that something nefarious was going on (beyond the simple selling of AU slots). And then there was reference to the banks losing a lot of money due to piggybacking. I'm thinking, "maybe the bank has to make a few extra plastic cards and mail them out, but I'm not seeing what terrible harm is befalling the banks." But then I got the details.

As is often the case, a few bad apples are ruining it for everyone. Here's the scam. Someone with no credit history uses piggybacking to build up a credit profile. That person signs up for a bunch of credit cards with great credit limits. That person maxes the card, pays off the card, maxes it again, and then disappears. Oh, and that check they sent to payoff the card, it bounces.

I have a few thoughts in response to this intel:

1. The fraudster's conduct is not the fault of the cardholder who sold an AU slot. This is the fault of the banks and the fraudsters.
A. The banks have a hole in their defenses. First, the CRAs allow piggybacking to work. Second, the CRAs are overly reliant on the credit reporting system in granting credit lines. This is for the banks to fix--not the cardholder's fault.
B. The primary cardholder who sold an AU slot may have given the fraudster the tools to do this dance, but it's the fraudster who's ripping off other banks at the end of the day.

2. Having said all of that, and this is most definitely not legal advice, I don't understand how there could be civil or criminal liability for the cardholder who sells an AU slot to a fraudster. The AU-seller didn't pass a bad check. They didn't run up the credit cards. They simply took advantage of a system.

[However, it's worth noting that there could be something in a cardmember agreement that would open up the cardholder to a breach of contract claim from the cardholder's bank (but then there's an issue of how that bank was harmed--I don't see how they are in any meaningful way).]

3. If I were on the other side, I could make the argument for the cardholder who sells an AU slot having liability (although I personally don't find it convincing). The somewhat silly hypothetical I think of is the person who furnishes a gun to a murderer. In the piggybacking scenario, the cardholder sells an AU slot to a fraudster. And in doing so, they sell the fraudster the hypothetical gun (a good credit profile) that is used to harm another bank. Does it seem like a stretch to you as well?!

So there's my intel and "warning." I'm not sure what the reputable companies are doing to vet the AU buyers. But maybe this will help some of you.

I'm not trying to be a complainypants and scare people away from doing this. MMM is all about data, and this is some data that might help inform people's decisions. Also, this is high level. I can't confirm that this happened in the case of my clients, only that this type of fraud activity is happening in general and is tied into piggybacking.

If anybody has any questions about this stuff, you can shoot me a message, and I'll do my best to get back to you in a timely fashion.

Cheers

P.S. I'm loving the verifications for the forum. (Except for the Capthcas).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 11:53:18 AM by PointsLawyer »

Making Cents

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Thanks for your very helpful and informative post, PointsLawyer. I am concerned enough about fraud after reading recent posts on this page that I am going to stop my modest tradeline sales (one card, 2 AUs so far) as soon as I get paid for the two I've already laid the groundwork for. I definitely don't want to contribute to anything illegal or abusive, even if my own involvement is not illegal. I'll be content to collect my $300 and pass Go.

On a different subject, has anyone here had to change bank info for the direct deposits to get paid by [old company]? I don't see any way to do that online at the website so I guess I'll need to do it through email, but wondered if anyone else had this experience?

[Mod edit: redacted specific company name]
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 05:12:40 PM by arebelspy »

beekayworld

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Thank you pointslawyer!
Zeroing on Point #3:   

It reminds me of how bartenders are held liable if they over-serve patrons who are visibly intoxicated and then get in an accident.

In the bar analogy, the TL company is the establishment (bar or restaurant) and we credit card holders are the bartenders. But I'm not sure what the "visibly intoxicated" is analogous to.  Is there some effort we are supposed to make to determine the AU is legitimate? 

Maybe selling CLs is more like private sales of guns where the seller isn't required to do a background check.


3. Having said all of that, if I were on the other side, I could make the argument for the cardholder who sells an AU slot having liability (although I personally don't find it convincing). The somewhat silly hypothetical I think of is the person who furnishes a gun to a murderer. In the piggybacking scenario, the cardholder sells an AU slot to a fraudster. And in doing so, they sell the fraudster the hypothetical gun (a good credit profile) that is used to harm another bank. Does it seem like a stretch to you as well?!


PointsLawyer

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Thanks for your very helpful and informative post, PointsLawyer. I am concerned enough about fraud after reading recent posts on this page that I am going to stop my modest tradeline sales (one card, 2 AUs so far) as soon as I get paid for the two I've already laid the groundwork for. I definitely don't want to contribute to anything illegal or abusive, even if my own involvement is not illegal. I'll be content to collect my $300 and pass Go.

Happy to help. I was a bit concerned posting because I didn't want to spook people unnecessarily. But, when I learned about this, I thought it best to share. I do a lot of work for people who are credit card opportunists (whether it's debt management, signup bonuses, manufactured spend, or piggybacking), and it hadn't even crossed my mind that this was a concern. When I first heard of piggybacking, my concern was how does the cardholder add AUs and protect himself or herself. I hadn't considered this other angle. So I thought there was value in sharing.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 11:54:01 AM by PointsLawyer »

PointsLawyer

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Thank you pointslawyer!
Zeroing on Point #3:   

It reminds me of how bartenders are held liable if they over-serve patrons who are visibly intoxicated and then get in an accident.

In the bar analogy, the TL company is the establishment (bar or restaurant) and we credit card holders are the bartenders. But I'm not sure what the "visibly intoxicated" is analogous to.  Is there some effort we are supposed to make to determine the AU is legitimate? 

Maybe selling CLs is more like private sales of guns where the seller isn't required to do a background check.


3. Having said all of that, if I were on the other side, I could make the argument for the cardholder who sells an AU slot having liability (although I personally don't find it convincing). The somewhat silly hypothetical I think of is the person who furnishes a gun to a murderer. In the piggybacking scenario, the cardholder sells an AU slot to a fraudster. And in doing so, they sell the fraudster the hypothetical gun (a good credit profile) that is used to harm another bank. Does it seem like a stretch to you as well?!


You're asking all the right questions. I can't say definitively, but it does seem like a stretch that there would be liability if someone sold an AU slot without knowledge of a fraudster's intent (and doesn't ignore some massive red flag).

lexde

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@Making Cents — do you mind taking the company names out of your posts? I think the intent of ARS and the way the thread is set up is to avoid having the names searchable on the ‘net. :-)

arebelspy

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Hey PointsLawyer,
Thanks for the input!

I think we've reached pretty much the same conclusions.

This is exactly why I think choosing your tradeline company carefully is so important.

I know you haven't read this (massive) thread all through, so apologies to others for repeating myself.

In short: There are a lot of tradeline companies out there. Many of them do very little (if anything) to properly vet that the AUs are, in fact, real people (not synthetic identities), and that these real people don't have previous instances of fraud (either criminally or via fraud flags on their credit report), and that they are who they say they are.

When you use those tradeline companies that don't verify these things, the risk of card shutdown goes way up, and your risk of liability (in my opinion) goes up as well.

If the banks, or a federal agency, decides to go after a tradeline company for facilitating fraud, and argues that they have purposefully been enabling fraud, the question becomes what can that company do to show that they haven't been facilitating fraud, but in fact have been trying to prevent fraud? What if that bank, or agency, decides to go after the cardholder (i.e. you/us), saying they should have known they were helping fraud?

The two companies I use/recommend are the only ones I've found with measures that I personally found comforting (both in what techniques are done, and in how they document and preserve this in case a future investigation/audit occurs) versus all the others I looked in to. Many don't do much, if anything, sadly; they don't care about facilitating fraud, or leaving their cardholders exposed to risk.

If and when they are challenged on their practices, being able to show what exactly they do to try and prevent fraud, and what was done in that particular case, is helpful for 1) trying to not have it happen in the first place (best scenario), and 2) protecting both them, and you, if fraud still does occur (as it might on occasion, despite best efforts to prevent it).

I can honestly say that I am in no way knowingly trying to participate in fraudulent activities, or purposefully enabling other people to do so, but rather I've chosen companies specifically because I think they are using practices to try and prevent fraud.

I think many other people here feel the same concern, and that's their primary criteria as well for choosing an AU company.

Your concern is a very real one, and very valid, and it's the first thing I thought about, and what caused me to look carefully at tradeline company practices before I recommended any. It is the reason why large amounts of due diligence on these companies is needed, IMO, and why the vast majority of them I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

Very interesting about them needing to provide a specific reason for card closure (and "we cannot meet your needs" not being specific enough, in your opinion).

Thanks again for the thoughts!
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arebelspy

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Can I ask you, PointsLawyer, why is it worth someone to retain you when their card was shut down, and what do you estimate the cost to them will be (in terms of your billing and hours)?
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robartsd

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Can I ask you, PointsLawyer, why is it worth someone to retain you when their card was shut down, and what do you estimate the cost to them will be (in terms of your billing and hours)?
Cost of lawyer will eventually fall on the bank if the bank is found to be in the wrong.

robartsd

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A. The banks have a hole in their defenses. First, the CRAs allow piggybacking to work. Second, the CRAs are overly reliant on the credit reporting system in granting credit lines. This is for the banks to fix--not the cardholder's fault.
The financial industry could shut this down immediately if they set it up so that piggybacking doesn't work. Already doesn't work with American Express because they report the date the AU was added where others report the date the credit line was opened.

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Can I ask you, PointsLawyer, why is it worth someone to retain you when their card was shut down, and what do you estimate the cost to them will be (in terms of your billing and hours)?
Cost of lawyer will eventually fall on the bank if the bank is found to be in the wrong.
Yep. I don't know of a single attorney who would do this with any other arrangement. It'd have to be contingency (if plaintiff wins, attorney gets a percentage of entire award, nothing if they lose usually).

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@PointsLawyer, please add my thanks as well.  I've been thinking along the same lines as I have a Barclays card where their fraud department has asked me pointed questions about my AUs and put a security hold on my account.

As a general question, do you think there is any risk in stating plainly to a credit card company that one has added acquaintances who were vetted by a third party as AU's?  If one also says that the cards never made it to the AU, I can't see how they can be concerned about fraud.

Basically, what is your opinion of a consumer taking the approach of "Hey, I did nothing wrong.  I used a service you provide, no fraud occurred, any private arrangement I have with my acquaintance is none of your business."  What is the likelihood of that working to keep the account open?

Personally I don't mind if I lose an account, but I don't want to see "Closed by credit grantor" on my credit report.

dragoncar

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Can I ask you, PointsLawyer, why is it worth someone to retain you when their card was shut down, and what do you estimate the cost to them will be (in terms of your billing and hours)?
Cost of lawyer will eventually fall on the bank if the bank is found to be in the wrong.
Yep. I don't know of a single attorney who would do this with any other arrangement. It'd have to be contingency (if plaintiff wins, attorney gets a percentage of entire award, nothing if they lose usually).

I think ARS and the rest of us would basically like to know what a typical award is, and what percent is lost to legal fees

PointsLawyer

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Can I ask you, PointsLawyer, why is it worth someone to retain you when their card was shut down, and what do you estimate the cost to them will be (in terms of your billing and hours)?

I take almost all of my cases on a contingency (like 99% of cases). The contingency is typically a sliding scale (smaller settlement figures means a larger percentage to recoup my time). I think it's the only way to make the model work. Doing it this way, people come to me with closed cards (or whatever), and I aim to monetize their claims. The cards are already closed, and so I try to make some "found money."

I'd say my average contingency is 40%. But that's because the typical recovery is not particularly large (think 4-figures). I do occasionally have larger claims, and that brings the contingency down.