People with bad credit are often quite vulnerable and targeted by scammers looking to make a quick buck at their expense. One of the new tricks doing the rounds is the credit privacy number (a.k.a credit profile number) or CPN.
Basically, someone approaches you, promising to wipe out your negative credit history by giving you a number called a credit privacy number.
With this new number, they claim you will have a clean slate. You can build a good credit history (often times they have tradelines you can buy or rent to make this new CPN more legitimate looking) and then you will easily be able to buy a car, house or get a job. Be warned – this is a scam. A CPN does not really help clean YOUR credit history and if you’re not careful, it may leave you liable for criminal prosecution.
So, What is a Credit Privacy Number?
A CPN is a 9-digit number which you’re given, meant to be used in place of your Social Security number when you apply for credit.
Sounds illegal, but actually the law states that you don’t have to share your Social Security Number (or SSN) with any credit reporting agencies. The thing is, if you don’t have a credit file, you can’t obtain credit. So instead of applying for credit using your social security number, you use your CPN. You CAN NOT use your CPN for filing taxes, registering your car, or for any kind of government programs.
That’s all legal.
The illegal part is when these companies show you how to obtain a CPN without having your current bad credit file “touch” your new file created using your CPN. That way if you have bad credit it can be hidden from potential creditors. That’s fraud. Plain and simple.
Who Uses A CPN?
CPNs are used a lot, legitimately, by celebrities and wealthy people in place of their social security number. In their case, it makes a lot of sense to keep your SSN a secret from rabid fans or being a target for savvy ID thieves. They have also been used by people who are in the witness protection program and need to keep their real social security number from showing up anywhere and tipping the wrong people off to their location.
However, they don’t make sense for most people, and certainly not for the purpose of helping those with bad credit start over again. CPNs were never meant to help you hide your bad credit. Obtaining one solely for the purpose of credit repair will probably leave you open to criminal liability. It is simply a terrible idea. Besides, you might find yourself losing thousands of dollars on these fraudulent schemes.
Spotting A Shady CPN Scam
Most people are introduced to CPNs by certain shady organizations that promise to help get their credit file started over. Not only do these organizations charge a hefty fee for their services, they leave those who hire them in a unique situation of being both the victims and perpetrators of a serious fraud.
The Problem with Improperly Obtained CPNs
Here’s the problem – most of these shady companies obtain CPNs illegally. Such as taking the social security number from someone who is deceased, or a child’s or elderly. If your credit privacy number ends up being assigned by the Social Security Administration to someone else, then you will be seen as committing a fraud and in all likelihood be subjected to serious criminal charges. If this is the case, you will be seen as defrauding people belonging to vulnerable sections of the society, just to get easy credit. Needless to say, something like this won’t be taken too kindly by the authorities.
How Can You Get A Legitimate Credit Privacy Number
Some people just want a CPN for privacy reasons. And its your right to have one, if you so wish. But you need to make sure you get a legitimate CPN.
In order to do so, you should consult an attorney. Don’t buy a CPN from a telemarketer or from off a website. You will need to provide the attorney with the reason why you want a credit privacy number, all your personal information, and sign a form stating you will take full responsibility for any purpose the CPN is used.
Your attorney will then file the correct paperwork with the social security office. It will take a long time to get one, but at least you will know that you have a legitimate CPN.
CPNs and Bad Credit
The simple truth is, there are no shortcuts to repairing bad credit. You must go through the process of pulling your credit report, eliminate all the false information, pay your old debts and systematically set yourself up to the task of repairing bad credit. That’s the way to do it – schemes such as a Credit Privacy Number cause nothing but trouble. Just don’t get tempted by them!