A credit privacy number or CPN for short is a nine-digit number used for credit purposes instead of your social security number (SSN).
When you’re signing a credit document, you need to provide your social security number, which can be for some people something they rather not do.
In the age of online identity theft, social security numbers have become a lucrative item that hackers can obtain from unsuspecting victims and sell them to buyers. Just thinking about someone else using their social security number to file for a loan, credit card or mortgage gives many people chills.
However, protecting yourself with a CPN is not something that is advised by experts. Although, CPNs have become rather popular in seemingly protecting one’s identity, the reality behind these numbers is a bit more complicated.
What is a CPN used for?
The concept behind CPNs is that it protects your identity by replacing your social security number with a newly obtained number. When the need for giving out your social security number is gone, your privacy is protected regardless of how many credit documents you sign. You simply do it with your new CPN number instead. At least that’s the idea behind it.
Furthermore, the CPN number supposedly can grant you some kind of clean slate with your credit history. This means that the new CPN number is not linked to your old credit score, while at the same time representing the same person behind the number: you.
How to get a CPN number?
There are many companies online that offer CPNs for free. However, others claim that these free CPNs are a scam and should not be trusted, while at the same time offering seemingly the same thing for 30 or so bucks. So, it’s rather easy to get ahold of one of these numbers.
Does it work?
Very unlikely. CPN numbers are considered worthless in protecting your identity. Furthermore, the other benefit of giving you a clean slate when applying for a credit is also rather offbeat from a legal point of view.
If you apply for a credit card, for example, and refuse to give your social security number, you might as well do that. But, be prepared to be declined for your credit card in the process. The social security number is vital in confirming your identity, and there’s no other number that can be used instead of your social security number.
However, many companies that sell CPNs are claiming that you can simply use the newly acquired CPN instead of your social security number. This, of course, would be possible if there weren’t this thing called the law. By law, it is a crime to use another number than your social security number if a creditor asks for it. So, not only does this CPN you bought online do nothing to protect you from identity theft, if using it, you might be charged if you use it yourself instead of your social security number.
CPNs may sound too good to be true because they are exactly that. If you’re looking to improve your credit score, it is always better to tackle it head on by making changes in your financial decisions, instead of relying on a magic number that makes all of your problems disappear. And, for the record, social security numbers may identify you as a person, but it is by far not the only number linked to your credit score, which means that even in that area a CPN can’t do the things it promises to do.