If you’ve been to the corners of social media you may have seen posts offering a CPN to get credit with. A CPN is a Credit Profile Number, Credit Protection Number, or Credit Privacy Number which is used in place of your social security number to get credit.
I’ve written about CPN numbers in the past and my research always painted a dark picture.
See this post of an FTC suit and final judgment against an individual for adding tradelines and authorized user to improve credit scores.
But when an insider dumped a ton of information to me on current CPN marketing efforts, I took another glance to see if things have changed.
Good People All Caught in Ignorance, Denial, or Deception
At first glance, the postings of people pushing CPNs for sale seems like hustling hard-working people pushing what they believe is a legit tool to get better credit.
This guy Mike is behind an effort to sell CPNs.
Alena seems totally on board as well.
But What is Fact and What is Blind Belief or Fiction?
Credit Profile Numbers are sold as a replacement for a valid nine-digit Social Security Number assigned to an individual. And it is just a number until someone uses them instead of their actual Social Security Number. You can buy all the CPNs you want but the moment you use one, then the entire story changes.
There are a lot of people who believe the use of a CPN is legit. Just look at this past comment on a post I wrote in 2014. And this one is just the tip of the iceberg in believer blowback.
Cecilia is a believer.
But you know who is not a believer, Timatress.
In November 2017 Timatress Tenaka Cade, AKA Timatress Tenaka Barnes and Tenaka Barnes was criminally charged for using a CPN to apply for credit.
The criminal complaint said:
“Real, misappropriated SSNs, often assigned to children, are stolen and sold online as “credit profile numbers,” “credit privacy numbers,” or “credit protection numbers” (collectively “CPNs”). CPNs are marketed to individuals who have a poor credit history as a way to obtain credit cards, loans, and other lines of credit for which they would not otherwise qualify.
Purchasers of a CPN can thereafter attach their name to the misappropriated SSN to create a fraudulent credit profile with the CRAs. Once the fraudulent credit profile is established, a good credit history can be created by “pollinating” the credit profile with tradelines. For example, a common way to obtain a tradeline is to add an individual who has a misappropriated SSN as an authorized user on an existing credit card with a good payment history. Once the fraudulent credit profile is pollinated with a few positive tradelines, the misappropriated SSN is used to obtain additional credit.”
And the same online place with postings of people selling CPNs also contains postings of people selling credit tradelines.
The criminal complaint filed by the United States against Timatress clearly states what the problem is in using CPNs.
It was the purpose of the scheme that CADE used CPNs to misrepresent her SSN to banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, retailers, and other lenders in order to represent to lenders that she had a credit history more favorable than she had actually earned for purposes of obtaining loans for personal expenses, vehicles, and other merchandise.
That sure sounds like what the social media posters are pushing people to do.
Manner and Means
“It was part of the scheme that:
a. CADE obtained a CPN, which was actually a misappropriated SSN. In particular, CADE obtained the following SSNs, which the Commissioner of Social Security had previously issued to children born in 2006 and 2009: XXX-XX-0955 and XXX-XX-4320.
b. CADE caused CRAs to create fraudulent credit profiles using her name and the misappropriated SSNs.
c. CADE caused CRAs to attach tradelines to the fraudulent credit profiles in order to establish a good credit history for those credit profiles.
d. CADE thereafter used the misappropriated SSNs to submit materially false and fraudulent loan applications to banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, retailers, and other lenders in order to purchase vehicles and other merchandise.
e. Using the misappropriated SSNs, lenders electronically contacted CRAs to obtain credit reports purportedly associated with CADE.
f. Lenders thereafter issued credit to CADE believing that her credit history was different than it actually was.
g. CADE obtained personal loans, as well as a vehicle and other merchandise purchased on credit, and thereafter made little to no payments on the credit accounts, causing losses to the lenders.”
So how can what Dexture is selling online be risk-free or legal?
Let’s go with, it’s probably not.
The criminal charges against Timatress continue to pile up.
The criminal complaint says:
- “the defendant herein, knowingly made a false statement to Tinker Federal Credit Union (TFCU), a financial institution, the deposits of which were insured by the National Credit Union Administration, for the purpose of influencing TFCU to approve a personal loan in the amount of $3,000.00 for wedding expenses. Specifically, in order to conceal her true credit history from TFCU, CADE submitted a loan application in which she used an SSN which she knew was not assigned to her by the Commissioner of Social Security. CADE also falsely stated that she was employed at Mr. Ralph Clothing with an annual salary of $51,600.00.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014.”
- “the defendant herein, knowingly made a false statement to BBVA Compass Bank, a financial institution, the deposits of which were federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for the purpose of influencing BBVA Compass Bank to approve an auto loan in the amount of $27,076.00. Specifically, in order to conceal her true credit history from BBVA Compass Bank, CADE submitted a loan application in which she used an SSN which she knew was not assigned to her by the Commissioner of Social Security. In support of the loan application to BBVA Compass Bank, CADE also falsely stated that she was employed at Mr. Ralph Clothing with gross monthly earnings of $4,300.00. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014. COUNTS 6-10 (False Representation of Social Security Number).”
- “the defendant herein, knowingly and with intent to deceive, falsely represented to Conn’s HomePlus, in applications for retail installment loans, an SSN, as listed below, to be her SSN, well knowing that number was not the SSN assigned to her by the Commissioner of Social Security.”
- “the defendant herein, knowingly and with intent to deceive, falsely represented to OKC Homes 4 You, in a home rental application for a residence located at 16108 Wind Crest Way, Edmond, Oklahoma, that her SSN was XXX-XX-0955, well knowing that number was not the SSN assigned to her by the Commissioner of Social Security.”
The allegation was that Timatress made false statements to a financial institution and falsely represented her Social Security Number.
You can read the full unsealed court document below.
So How Did This End for Timatress
Well, not well.
Timatress was ordered to pay restitution of $68,637 and was sent off to jail.
Demarr Learns the CPN Lesson as Well
Demarr Greer was also charged by the United States for using a CPN in the application for credit.
The criminal complaint says, “DEMARR FANNELL GREER devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud credit card issuers, automobile dealers, and other lenders in a material manner, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, through the use of CPNs.
It was the purpose of the scheme that GREER used CPNs to misrepresent his SSN to credit card issuers, automobile dealers, and other lenders in order to falsely represent to them that he had a credit history more favorable than was actually the case, for purposes of obtaining credit cards, vehicles, and other merchandise.”
This criminal complaint lays out how Demarr may have purchased one of the CPN being peddled online like in this social media posting.
Did Demarr know the CPN he acquired was actually a stolen Social Security Number? Probably not. How would he know by looking at a nine-digit number?
The criminal complaint filed against Demarr says:
“It was part of the scheme that:
a. GREER obtained a CPN, which was actually an SSN appropriated from a real person, who was bom in 2004.
b. GREER caused CRAs to create fraudulent credit profiles using his real name and the misappropriated SSN.
c. GREER caused CRAs to attach tradelines to the fraudulent credit profiles in order to establish a good credit history for those credit profiles.
d. GREER thereafter used the misappropriated SSN to submit materially false and fraudulent loan applications to credit card issuers, automobile dealers, and other lenders in order to obtain credit cards, and purchase vehicles and other merchandise.
e. Using the misappropriated SSNs, lenders electronically contacted CRAs to obtain credit reports purportedly associated with GREER.
f. Lenders thereafter issued credit to GREER believing that his credit history was better than it actually was.
g. GREER obtained credit cards and an automobile using a CPN, and thereafter made little to no payments on the credit accounts, causing losses to the lenders.”
You can read the full indictment below.
According to the Department of Justice, “DEMARR FANNELL GREER, 39, of Edmond, Oklahoma, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for fraudulent use of a Social Security Number, announced Robert J. Troester of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
On April 17, 2018, a federal grand jury charged Greer with using interstate wire communications to defraud credit card issuers, automobile dealers, and other lenders between February and August 2016. According to the indictment, Greer obtained the Social Security Number of a person born in 2004 and used it as a “credit profile number”—also known as “credit privacy number” or a “credit protection number”—to establish what appeared to be good credit with consumer reporting agencies, such as TransUnion and Experian. After establishing good credit, he allegedly used the number to apply for a Discover Card and for a lease on a 2016 Dodge crew cab pickup. The indictment alleges he made little to no payments on his obligations and thus caused losses to businesses that had extended credit to him.” – Source
So There You Have It
My apologies if you fell for my clickbait headline but for all the readers who came believing CPNs were legit and risk-free, I guess I have to quote Mike from above and say, “Keep the hate energy and crab in a barrel ass mindset to yourself please.”
Update on July 25, 2019
I didn’t want to lose this reference that relates to this post so I’m adding it here.
When it comes to using new numbers in place of the valid Social Security Number, the tactic is not new.
Here is an old warning from the Department of Justice regarding similar issues.
“CROA also prohibits “file segregation” schemes, which are advertised as a way of creating a new credit identity. File segregation operators advise the consumer to apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”). Consumers are told to use the EIN in lieu of their Social Security Number when applying for credit, in order to create a completely new credit file in which the old debts will not appear. The scheme essentially involves an attempt to hide one’s identity from creditors by getting credit with the EIN and a name and address that differ slightly from accurate identifiers.
Both the person selling such a scheme and consumers who follow the scheme are violating the law. CROA bars any person from making or counseling any consumer to make any untrue or misleading statement whose intended effect is to alter the consumer’s identification to hide accurate credit information. 15 U.S.C. § 1679b(a)(2). Consumers following such advice may be committing felonies. See 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(7)(B) (falsely representing a number to be the social security account number); 18 U.S.C. Â§ 1014 (false statement on credit application). In 1999, CPB (Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice) brought a series of cases seeking injunctions and civil penalties against businesses that offered “file segregation” schemes. – Source
By the way, I’ve forwarded all my documentation uncovered in this story to the Department of Justice, FBI, Federal Trade Commission, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.