In one case, a Sacramento man obtained unused Social Security numbers and had employees at a furniture company create fake credit histories for real people with lousy credit ratings, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported Monday.
Prosecutors in Kansas City allege some listings on the Web site Craig's list recently offered to "rent" a credit history dating to 1999 on a Chase Visa card with a low balance and a $55,000 limit.
Similar scams discovered in other states threaten to further undermine the already shaky credit industry and the nation's economy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Marshall said.
"As we've seen in recent years, what hits the lenders hits all of us," Marshall said.
It's estimated that 19 of the largest U.S. banks could absorb $82 billion in credit card losses by the end of 2010, the Star reported.