Credit information: New identification

Some consumers may receive suggestions or offers indicating they can improve their credit score by having a new credit record established, one that will not be linked to any past mistakes.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this offer is often made to those who have gone through bankruptcy, as it can appeal to them and sound like the perfect solution. If a rental application was denied because of the results of the potential landlord's tenant credit screening, that may also make this sound like an ideal solution.

However, creating a new credit identity is called "file segregation" and is actually illegal. Doing this puts the consumer at risk of being fined or even imprisoned. Those with a bankruptcy or other negative event on their record may wish to improve their credit quickly, but that is difficult to do.

Consumers may benefit from patience, according to the FTC, since nearly all negative information is removed from a credit report after seven years. Positive information remains permanently. The FTC also notes that, while some scammers may claim otherwise, bankruptcy does not absolutely prevent the consumer for getting credit as long as it is on the report. The more time passes, the less weight it will carry.