What is a Credit Privacy Number and Why Should They Be Avoided?

In 1974, Congress responded to public concern over privacy by passing the Privacy Act. Among other provisions, the Act established that third parties cannot force consumers to provide their Social Security numbers for purposes other than required by federal law. The law was intended to increase privacy for American citizens and protect them from identity theft.

However, credit privacy numbers (CPN) emerged as a byproduct of the law. Numerous fraudulent companies began marketing CPNs as a solution to repairing or rebuilding credit. But these CPNs are either stolen Social Security numbers, the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, or synthetically created Social Security numbers. By generating a sequence of numbers that does not yet exist as a Social Security number, criminals are able to create and sell a CPN.

The problem is that a CPN is not a legitimate, legal number and using one for the purposes of obtaining credit is a crime.

Legitimate numbers, issued by the federal government, that can be used for the purposes of obtaining credit include Social Security numbers, Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). An ITIN is issued to non-citizen legal residents of the United States so that they can work, pay taxes, and of course, obtain credit when needed.

A CPN will not help you to repair or rebuild your credit. In fact, attempting to do so could result in charges of identity theft. No matter what any supposed credit repair company tells you, CPNs are a scam – period.

Identity fraud scams often fly under the radar, and these types of con artists are rarely caught, but the cost of these crimes impacts us all. If you are offered a CPN or encouraged to use one by a credit repair company, do not work with that company! Furthermore, you should report the company to your local law enforcement, your state attorney general, and the Federal Trade Commission.

We can help you clean up your credit history and offer beneficial advice to help you keep your scores high.  Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy fixes and trying to shortcut the process could result in big problems.   Feel free to contact our office if you have questions or would like more information.