While searching out scams to avoid recently I came across many that were willing, for a fee, to help me repair bad credit using a CPN or Credit Profile Number.
There is a lot of misinformation online about the CPN but what you need to know is you can’t use a fictional number in place of your valid Social Security Number when applying for most things or you wind up violating a bunch of laws and committing credit fraud.
The CPN is advertised as an alternative number that is created for the consumer to use in place of their real Social Security Number. Watch the sales pitch below to see how the CPN is sold to make people believe it can be used to apply for credit or car loans.
Much of the video above makes no sense in my opinion.
- “And now with this number you are able to build credit. And when you build credit you are able to go and borrow.” – Illegal.
- He explains that investors that are over extended need a CPN Credit Privacy Number to use to apply for credit since they are over extended on their real social security number. – Illegal.
- “You can go out and purchase a car, get a bank account, purchase a boat or purchase a house with the CPN number.” – Illegal.
This guy in the video isn’t the only one trying to sell this really bad idea on consumers to buy a CPN to repair their credit. Many others are as well. And that process is expensive. In the video above the guy says he can save you 70% off the typical $50,000 price for getting a CPN. His cost is apparently $15,000. Other sites will sell you a CPN for $2,000 (Source), some will sell them for $79 (Source) and in reality you could get a fake social security number to use for free using online SSN Validator site. – Source
I bet your wondering why I told you where you can get a valid CPN or alternative SSN for free. The bottom line is that using any alternative number other than your SSN to apply for credit is the worst thing you can do. It is illegal and opens you up for fraud charges. Any debt incurred with a CPN can’t be discharged with bankruptcy. Fraudulent credit is not eligible for discharge under bankruptcy.
Just read the terms and conditions from one of the online CPN sites and tell me if they think you can use your CPN for credit.
I understand and acknowledge; that in no way am I engaging or attempting to engage in FILE SEPARATION, and by signing this agreement, —– ONLY ROLE IS TO HELP ME OPEN A CREDIT PROFILE NUMBER WHICH WILL BE ATTACHED TO MY DBA FOR WHICH I PLAN TO USE FOR PERSONAL BUSINESS MATTERS FURTHERMORE, FOR PERSONAL BUSINESS MATTERS I DO PLAN TO USE CREDIT FOR THESE MATTERS AND IN NO WAY AM I ATTEMPTING TO CREATE A SITUATION OF FILE SEPARATE, BUT TO USE MY ’CREDIT PROFILE, DBA’ LEGALLY! I AGREE \TO HOLD —– HARMLESS; FOR THEY ARE ONLY PROCESSING MY BUSINESS PAPERWORK; AND SETTING UP MY BUSINESS DBA, UNDER WHICH ALL NECESSITIES APPLY! I UNDERSTAND (it is a federal crime to make any false statements on a loan or credit application… A credit repair company may advise you to do just that, but it is my statement by signing this contract —– HAS NEVER INFORMED ME; NOR ADVISED ME; TO MAKE ANY FALSE STATEMENTS; ON ANY CREDIT; OR LOAN APPLICATION. It is a federal crime to misrepresent your Social Security number. It also is a federal crime to obtain an EIN from the IRS under false pretenses. IT IS MY STATEMENT I AM SETTING UP A BUSINESS TO PROMOTE MYSELF AND MY PERSONAL BUSINESS ENDEAVORS, FOR WHICH IS WHY I APPLIED FOR A DBA AND AN IRS EIN! Furthermore, you could be charged with mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or the telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. Worse yet, file segregation likely would constitute civil fraud under many state laws.) —– HAS MADE THIS POINT ‘VERY’ CLEAR AND IN NO WAY AM I MAKING OR PLAN TO MAKE ANY FALSE STATEMENTS OR MISREPRESENTATION TO —– OR ANY PERSPECTIVE CREDITOR. I AGREE TO HOLD —– HARMLESS FOR I ONLY USED THEIR SERVICE TO ASSIST WITH PAPERWORK. – Source
Let me pull out those three very important points.
- “I DO PLAN TO USE CREDIT FOR THESE MATTERS AND IN NO WAY AM I ATTEMPTING TO CREATE A SITUATION OF FILE SEPARATE”
- “It is a federal crime to misrepresent your Social Security number.”
- “Furthermore, you could be charged with mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or the telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. Worse yet, file segregation likely would constitute civil fraud under many state laws.)”
On Craigslist I found a guy that was willing to sell me a CPN for $2,700. Here was his pitch.
“Basically you can purchase a CPN with three trade lines with at least one of them being 8 yrs or older and the other two with a high amount and that would guarantee your new CPN (Credit Profile Number) a score of 750 or better… Buy a car or whatever with this new credit and try to keep it in good standing so you never have to worry about credit issues again. Realistically for about $2,700 you can obtain this new start through the website and the trade lines connected to it. If you need help call me.
this is just like having a new SS#, but you just use it for credit and not for work or anything else. A EIN # is what you’re talking about and that is something totally different… All of our new CPN’s are guaranteed to pass any SS# validator. You add trade lines to the CPN to give it a score. The better the trade lines the higher the score will be. Most people have no clue that they can separate their birth SS# form their credit.”
The alternative number to apply for credit, CPN, or fake SSN is not a new scam. It’s been around for years.
There is no guarantee what number you’ll get from one of the CPN scammers. It could be a business identification number or it could simply be the social security number of someone else.
See if this press release from the Federal Trade Commission from 1999 sounds like the CPN scam.
Promoting False Identification Numbers To Create A “New Credit Identity” Is Illegal: FTC
Sixteen defendants targeted in a law enforcement crackdown on illegal credit repair services have agreed to settle federal charges that the “file segregation” advice and products violated federal law. The charges were brought by the Federal Trade Commission or the United States Department of Justice at the FTC’s request. The settlements will provide consumer redress for victims of the scam; bar future violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act; bar deceptive claims about file segregation — including claims that it is legal — and require that the defendants notify their victims that using a false identification number to apply for credit is a felony.
The defendants used the Internet and other media to claim they could help consumers obtain new credit histories by obtaining new identification numbers through a practice known as file segregation. The firms sold instructions about how consumers could substitute federally-issued, nine-digit employee identification numbers or taxpayer identification numbers for social security numbers and use them illegally to build new credit profiles that would allow them to get credit they may be denied based on their real credit histories. Many of their ads claimed the practice was legal.
Settlement of the FTC charges will bar the defendants from violating provisions of the Credit Repair Organizations Act that prohibit charging or accepting payment for credit repair services before the services are provided. In addition, the settlements would bar them from representing that other government identification numbers can be lawfully used to conceal actual credit histories and from misrepresenting material facts concerning credit-related products or any other product or service.
The defendants would be required to notify their victims of the illegal nature of their products and would be barred from selling their customer lists. Thirteen of the settlements provide for full consumer redress. Financial declarations filed by three defendants indicate an inability to provide redress. Their settlements contain provisions to allow reopening of the issue if defendants are found to have misrepresented their inability to pay. All the settlements contain record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance.
The settlements of the “Operation New ID – Bad IDea” sweep are with Mehmet Akca (FTC File No. X990018); Frank Muniz (FTC File No. X990020); LSQ International (FTC File No. X990024), Standard Business Services (FTC File No. X990021); Pro Se Publications (FTC File No. X990023); Ross Sanford Leiss (FTC File No. X990026); Michael Lyons (X990027); Edward Lane (FTC File No. X990032); All About Communications (FTC File No. X990030); Express Financial Planning (FTC File No. X990034); Financial Publishers of America (FTC File No X990033); New Start (FTC File No. X990028); Frederick P. Ray (FTC File No. X990066); Internet Publications (FTC File No. X990064); P.M.. Enterprises (FTC File No. X990047); Fresh Start (FTC File No. X990044). – Source
or how about the following FTC information from 2001.
New Credit Identity Scam Violated Federal Laws: FTC
The operator of a Web site that sold credit repair advice and promised “perfect credit . . .instantly” has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that his scheme violated federal law.
The scam was identified in “Operation New ID – Bad IDea,” an FTC initiative targeting illegal “credit repair” services. The settlement bars future violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act and the FTC Act; bars deceptive claims about file segregation — including claims that it is legal — and prohibits the defendant from using or selling his customer lists.
In addition to the civil case brought by the FTC against Clifton W. Cross, on May 9, 2001, Cross was sentenced to forty nine months in federal incarceration and ordered to pay nearly $171,000 in restitution as part of a guilty plea resolving criminal charges stemming from the scam. The criminal case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
The defendant used his Web site to claim he could help consumers obtain new credit histories by obtaining new identification numbers through a practice known as file segregation. The defendant sold instructions about how consumers could substitute federally-issued, nine-digit employee identification numbers or taxpayer identification numbers for social security numbers and use them illegally to build new credit profiles that would allow them to get credit they may be denied based on their real credit histories. Using “file segregation” to alter your credit history is a felony.
Settlement of the FTC charges bars the defendant from representing that other government identification numbers can be lawfully used to conceal actual credit histories or that using alternate numbers is legal.
In addition, the settlement bars him from misrepresenting material facts concerning credit-related products or any other product or service. The settlement also bars violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, which prohibits charging or accepting payment for credit repair services before the services are provided and advising consumers to hide their true credit history. The settlement also bars the defendant from using or selling his customer lists. Finally, the settlement contains record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance. A financial declaration filed by the defendant indicates an inability to provide redress for consumers. The settlement contains provisions to allow reopening of the issue if the defendant is found to have misrepresented his inability to pay. – Source
Before some CPN promoter tries to tell you it is totally legal for you to apply for credit using a CPN, consider this quote.
First, when was the last time you saw a credit form asking for your CPN? “Never” is the answer. Credit companies don’t ask for CPNs; they ask for SSNs. If you are asked for a social security number and you give a CPN or a number other than your social security number, you’re lying. Lying to get credit is a crime.
Second, companies that give credit check to find out if an SSN was actually issued, so in order for a number to be accepted as a social security number, it has to be in the range of numbers already issued. (Those companies also search the Social Security Death Index to find out if the Social Security Number belonged to someone who has died.) If you pick a CPN that has not been issued as an SSN (or one belonging to a dead guy), and use it when filling in the blanks on a credit application, the credit company’s computer will kick it out as an error. Because it isn’t a social security number, it won’t pass the creditors’ vetting. Using it in place of a Social Security Number to try to get something of value would still be fraud, though.
As an alternative to making up your own CPN from the pool of possible future SSNs, the ebook suggests applying for an EIN and using that as a CPN. I haven’t given a lot of thought to the legality of this, but, first, credit applications don’t ask for your EIN (so putting an EIN where an SSN is requested is a lie); and, second, any advice that includes: – Source
Look, just stay far away from these money wasting and illegal to use to apply for credit scams. The best way to get good credit is to just work on making the credit report you legally have, better, legally.
Photo Credit: Toasty KenCPN - Credit Profile Number / Credit Privacy Number - Craigslist Scam to Watch Out For by Steve Rhode