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A Credit Privacy Number (CPN) is a nine-digit number that is used in place of a Social Security Number (SSN). CPNs are sometimes marketed as a way to improve credit scores or “protect” one’s identity. But is using a CPN actually a crime? In short, the answer is yes.

It’s important to understand how CPNs are obtained. Oftentimes, people who use CPNs have either been convicted of a crime or have filed for bankruptcy. As such, they may have bad credit. In order to get around this, they may purchase a “clean” CPN from someone else—usually for a few hundred dollars.

For individuals, using a CPN in place of an SSN is considered fraud. Not only that, but it can also lead to serious consequences like jail time and heavy fines.

Using a Credit Privacy Number (CPN) is definitely a crime. If you’re caught using one in place of your Social Security Number, you could face steep penalties like jail time and heavy fines. So, if you’re thinking about using a CPN, we strongly advise against it. Your best bet is to just use your SSN—it may not be perfect, but it’s the legal way to go about things.