What is a CPN?
CPN stands for a credit privacy number - it is essentially a nine-digit number that can be used in place of your Social Security number on credit documents. You can also sometimes see people referring to CPNs as secondary credit numbers (SCN) or credit profile numbers.
Should I use a CPN?
If you already got excited about using a CPN to protect your Social Security number on documents and applications - hold your horses because using a CPN is an incredibly bad idea. First of all, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there’s no such thing as a credit privacy number. Additionally, if you use any number other than your actual Social Security number on your credit application, it is considered to be a federal crime that you can be prosecuted for. The bottom line is that CPNs are a scam and you should never use them.
Why do people want to use a CPN?
There are a few reasons you might want to use a CPN number. First of all, you might be worried about identity theft - after all, if someone gets ahold of your Social Security number, they can do a lot of damage in your life - the person can open bank accounts and apply for credit cards and loans in your name or use your medical and employment benefits. Naturally, the less you use your Social Security number, the fewer chances identity thieves have to steal it. Another reason to want to protect your Social Security number is that if someone gets ahold of the number, they can find out tons of information about you - where you live, what you own and what’s going on in your life. Because of these issues that come with using your real Social Security number, scammers claim that you can use a CPN instead, even going as far as saying that many officials and celebrities use CPNs to protect their information.
How can I protect myself from CPN scams?
The best way to protect yourself from CPN scams is to know for sure that CPNs don’t exist and that anyone who uses them is a scammer. But it’s also helpful to know some of the tricks scammers use to get you to believe them. You may be told that a CPN number can help you get rid of your bad credit or leave your bad credit history in the past. Fraudulent companies can also tell you that it’s legal to use a CPN instead of your Social Security number when, in fact, it’s fraud and you can even be charged with identity theft as the result because oftentimes, the CPN number you’re provided with is actually an SSN of a dead individual.
Scammers will also often tell you to lie on your credit applications to avoid being linked to your old credit history or instruct you to use an Employee Identification Number, or EIN, on your credit applications. Fraudulent companies that sell CPNs will also often tell you that you will no longer be associated with your bad credit and that your credit history will be wiped clean by getting a CPN. All of these claims are false and you should never pay such companies and individuals for any services and you should never use anything else other than your Social Security number on your credit applications.