The ancient pyramids were built thousands of years ago. And while scammer pyramids aren't that old, they can be just as fascinating. In response to a desire by many consumers to clean up bruised credit history reports, fraudsters promise new, blemish-free credit profiles — for a fee. But, that's only the foundation of this growing scam.

This is how crooks convince victims to do their dirty work.

Bad actors are attracting more victims by adding an additional layer of mortar to their nasty scheme. They're getting consumers to share phony credit repair offers with others. As more people sign up, profits flow down to the criminals at the bottom of the pyramid.

When consumers spread the word, they unknowingly become partners in crime. Here's how to protect yourself, your friends, and your family.

(phone conversation)

Scammer: That's right. You can remove negative information using the dispute letters in the kit.

Billy: But I filed bankruptcy. How can I dispute that?

Scammer: If you can't remove it from your credit report, we'll give you a credit profile number. Use it to apply for new credit instead of your Social Security number.

Billy: I don't know...

Scammer: Look, Billy. When you buy our Fix-It Credit Repair Program, you won't need to worry anymore about housing rental applications getting denied. And your mailbox will overflow with credit card offers.

Billy: All right, let's do this!

Scammer: Great! I'll also let you in on a special program we don't offer everyone. Refer five people to us within the next 48 hours and we'll refund half the cost - if three sign up.

Billy: Wow! But that's still $150.

Scammer: It gets even better, Billy. For each person you sign up after the first three, you earn $50. The program will pay for itself in no time. And the more people you refer, the more money you can make — indefinitely!

Billy: I'm not much of a salesperson.

Scammer: We'll give you the tools to make it easy. Soon, you'll be able to enjoy your clean credit profile and extra cash from referring people to us. Now, what's your credit card number?

Worthless Credit Repair Kit

Scammers are taking their efforts to new heights by combining fake credit repair offers with financial pyramid schemes. The scammer charged Billy $300 for a worthless credit repair kit. And before he realized it was all a scam, Billy recruited 10 people. He collected their money and gave it to the phony credit repair company, participating in a credit repair pyramid scheme.

He didn't receive a credit repair kit, his refund, or any of the referral money he'd been promised. Neither did anyone else. The scammers lined their wallets with the money and vanished.

Credit Repair Pyramid Scheme Red Flags

The list of credit repair red flags is so extensive they could touch the clouds. Here are a few of the ones that routinely appear with this scheme:

  • Claims that accurate information can be removed from a credit history report using dispute letters. Accurate information cannot be erased from credit reports. However, most data falls off the report after 7+ years.

  • Consumers are encouraged to use a "credit profile number" instead of their Social Security number (SSN) to apply for new credit. These "profile numbers" are often stolen SSNs of minors who have no credit history.

  • Promises of perfect credit and loads of cash for selling the credit repair program to other people. This is how crooks convince victims to do their dirty work.

Do You Suspect a Credit Repair Pyramid Scheme?

If someone tries to convince you that it's possible to rebuild your credit with little effort while cementing buckets of cash — run, then grab your phone! Report them to your state attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission. It could help put a stop to scams like this in your area.