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Why You Should Not Buy a Credit Privacy Number (CPN)


If you’re looking to repair your credit, you may have come across websites that advertise a credit privacy number, credit protection number or CPN. These numbers are nine digits like a Social Security number (SSN), and sellers claim that you can use them instead of your SSN. However, these CPNs are often actual SSNs lifted from real people, reportedly children, prison inmates and the deceased – and you can never legally buy a new SSN. In other words, a CPN is no solution to your credit rating problem. Under no circumstances should you try to buy a CPN.

If you have good income and need help managing your money, a financial advisor can guide you in creating a financial plan.

Why a CPN Is Not a Credit Fix

Websites have sprung up all over the internet, offering CPNs to people with bad credit or low credit scores. They advertise that this number can serve as a “get out of jail free” card for your bad credit. In theory, you can use a CPN instead of your SSN on credit applications to hide the poor credit associated with your personal SSN. If you have bad credit but still need a credit card or loan, this can seem like the solution, assuming you can pay anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

That price might seem worth it for a chance to wipe the slate clean. However, these offers are essentially a big scam. The CPNs you can buy online are not legally assigned credit protection numbers. Instead, they are usually stolen Social Security numbers, taken from children, the deceased or inmates.

Also, using a purchased CPN puts you in some hot water, too. Credit agencies can easily spot discrepancies if you try to use a CPN on an application instead of your SSN. Not only will this fail to help your credit, but it’s also committing fraud which is punishable by jail time.

Warning Signs of CPN Scams

SmartAsset: Why You Should Not Buy a Credit Privacy Number (CPN)

If you’re wanting to repair your own credit, it’s crucial to be aware of the warning signs associated with CPN scams so you don’t get victimized. These scams prey on individuals with bad credit who want to quickly fix their credit but that’s just not how it works. In fact, falling for such scams can lead to severe consequences, including identity theft, financial loss, and even jail time.

Here are some red flags to watch out for so that you don’t fall victim to a CPN scam:

  • Promises to wipe away your bad history: One of the most significant warning signs of a CPN scam is the promise of a clean slate for your credit history. Scammers may advertise that if you use a CPN instead of your Social Security Number (SSN), you’ll be able to escape the poor credit associated with your SSN. However, this is not true, as even legal CPNs are still tied to your SSN and cannot erase your credit history.
  • High fees: CPN scammers often try to charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your new CPN. This should raise suspicion, as obtaining a legal CPN or new SSN through legitimate channels, such as the Social Security Administration Office, is always free. Never send payment to anyone if you’re trying to get a CPN.
  • Stolen SSNs: Many CPNs sold online aren’t CPNs but are actually SSNs that have been stolen. These numbers can be taken from many different vulnerable populations, such as children, the deceased or even prison inmates. Using a stolen SSN as a CPN is illegal and can result in severe consequences, including possible criminal charges.
  • They provide misleading information: Scammers may provide misleading or false information about how legal the CPN is or other things about credit repair. Be cautious of any source that claims to provide a legal CPN without proper verification or documentation. In fact, you likely only want to work with the government if you need to obtain a CPN.
  • Pressure to act quickly: Many scammers will use scare tactics including the illusion of a sense of urgency. They will pressure you to make a quick decision and to pay them before you have time to do your own research. If you encounter a CPN offer that demands immediate action or payment, take a step back and thoroughly investigate the source before proceeding. And, again, try to work with the government directly.

It is essential to educate yourself about the risks and warning signs of fraudulent CPN offers, especially if you are looking to fix your credit. Instead of seeking a quick fix through a source that won’t work, like a CPN, you may want to focus on rebuilding your credit through responsible financial practices. You can always seek professional advice from a trusted financial advisor or attorney to learn more.

How to Get a Legal CPN

With so many fraudulent websites and companies trying to sell you a way to reset your credit, it’s hard to know how to get a legal CPN. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Some experts say that you can speak with an attorney to obtain a legal CPN. The attorney can then contact the Social Security Administration Office on your behalf. However, others maintain that all CPNs are illegal.

Generally, it seems that you cannot get a legal CPN unless you actually need one. These situations include celebrities, government officials and people under witness protection. You can also apply in other specific instances, like if you’re a victim of abuse, stalking or identity theft. A real CPN would be attached to your SSN, so it’s still not an escape from the credit tied to your SSN.

You may also stumble upon offers to obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. The IRS does issue EINs, but only businesses can use them for business costs. This means that you cannot legally obtain an EIN as an individual looking to improve your credit. You also cannot make up a home business, apply for an EIN and use that new number for a credit reset. It is a federal crime to obtain an EIN under false pretenses. In any case, the credit profile for your EIN is still tied to your SSN.

The Bottom Line

SmartAsset: Why You Should Not Buy a Credit Privacy Number (CPN)

You shouldn’t ever, under any circumstances, try to purchase a CPN. These offers are fraudulent and don’t provide any credit repair or relief. At the very least, buying a CPN wastes money you should put towards repaying your loans in the first place. At worst, you could go to jail for fraud. There are better, more constructive ways to repair your credit. If you’re truly in a situation that calls for a CPN, contact your lawyer for assistance.

Tips on Rebuilding Your Credit 

  • If you have a good income, but you’re just bad at managing your money, a financial advisor can help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Of course, the best way to legally clean up your credit is to pay back your debts and improve your credit practices. A good place to start is to pay off your credit card debt with the highest interest.
  • Sometimes you’ll just have to wait for your bad history to fall off your record. Generally, negative info stays on your credit report for seven years. If you can’t get a debt collection removed from your credit report, for example, it’ll stay there for seven years. However, as time goes on, the toll it takes on your report lessens.

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