Credit Privacy Numbers (CPN) Explained
- By Greg Brown
- Jan 16, 2023
We gather a few numbers and information throughout our lifetimes that must be protected at all costs. A social security number is the first and most crucial piece of information we use in every area of our lives. Another number marketed as an alternative to the SSN is a credit privacy number or CPN.
CPNs are attached to a credit file and created only as a means of identification. There are no legitimate ways to use a CPN, and credit privacy numbers, most certainly, cannot help a consumer with their bad credit.
A credit privacy number, credit profile number, or consumer protection number is a myth and starts with less than reputable companies. CPNs are nine-digit identifiers similar in format to a social security number and are used as another way to scam the public.
CPNs are marketed heavily as a replacement for an actual social security number as a way to hide bad credit or bankruptcies. CPNs are not a replacement for a legitimate SSN. Businesses may apply to the IRS for a private EIN or employer identification number. EINs are held in the strictest confidence by any business that is issued the number.
- Consumers with bad credit should be cautious of any company or advertisement offering a quick fix to repair their credit.
- Using a fraudulent CPN to create a false identity is highly illegal and may be considered a form of identity theft.
- Using an illegally obtained CPN and misrepresenting a social security number on a credit application is a federal crime.
Where Do CPNs Come From?
Credit privacy numbers are not a legal means of credit or identification, so there is no legal way to use a CPN. Ads marketed as a way to repair credit using a CPN are likely from a scammer. Plenty of law-abiding credit repair companies take a client through the right way to repair their credit. The credit repair process does not work overnight, and it is a slow, time-consuming ordeal.
Illegal companies behind the creation and marketing of credit repair numbers are con artists using the information already on credit reports to present a compelling scam. No government entity issues a CPN or credit privacy number. Some illegal sellers of CPNs state they have attorneys who prepare the paperwork on your behalf. Again, no reputable attorney will issue a CPN.
There are generally two ways a CPN is created: 1) a sophisticated algorithm creates random nine-digit numbers. Once created, the number is run through a massive database to find the ones which may pose as real SSNs. 2) SSNs can be stolen from the vulnerable such as children, the elderly, or the deceased. If the scammers guarantee a credit score, this indicates the CPN is fake.
Can I Use a CPN Legally?
Every government entity does not recognize a CPN; most importantly, the Federal Trade Commission says they do not exist. Using a CPN can have severe consequences if someone uses the number on any credit application. A few companies claim a CPN is a government-issued number, which is a total lie. The only way to get a CPN is by purchasing a stolen or fake SSN.
Federal law prohibits using a CPN on a credit application, and the person may be sentenced to jail for their actions. This type of action is considered federal fraud and carries a hefty 30-year prison term, fees, and fines. If you get caught using a CPN on a credit application rather than using your real SSN, there could be two separate charges against you. 1) Federal crime! 2) There may be a separate fine at the state level, on top of the federal crime, which puts you in a whole different world of trouble.
Companies who use the CPN as a miracle number, which solves all your credit problems are only out to make a buck. Most scam companies use the CPN as a lure for buying a house or car. Dealing with the repercussions of bad credit is hard enough, do not risk federal or state action by using a deceptive CPN number. It is not worth it!
Avoiding a CPN Scam
Solving credit problems is not an overnight process; it may take years to overcome a bad report. Any reputable credit repair company will not offer a CPN number to their clients in any context. An adverse credit file drives people to make stupid decisions quickly to repair their credit. Sometimes, people fall prey to companies offering all the words they need to hear.
There are red flags to be aware of when searching for help with credit problems.
- Requesting participation in making false statements is the first red flag. Credit repair scams want clients to use a CPN as a legitimate social security number. Watch out for false statements such as the government issues them, our attorneys have prepared the paperwork, or using a CPN is entirely safe.
- Substantial payment upfront is one of the most telling red flags. Legitimate credit repair companies never ask for large sums of money, especially not upfront. Payments should always be in increments tied to specific goals of accomplishment.
- Explanation of rights is the first thing any legitimate credit repair company will give their clients. These explanations help the security of your credit profile and the company’s credit applications.
- Threatening a client with dire consequences is a traditional means of manipulation. If the scammers feel manipulation is the way to go with a particular client, they will attempt to gain much more information, like a real SSN.
Bad credit can have dire impacts on a person’s life; however, repairing their credit file is not impossible and takes time to correct. Using pretenses such as a CPN can cause more harm than good. Understanding the many ways to protect yourself will keep you from becoming a victim of identity theft.
If you truly want to prepare your credit file, seek the help of others, and prepare yourself for a long, arduous fight. The end of the road is a good score you will genuinely be proud of.