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What is a CPN?

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Having good credit is essential for many aspects of our lives, from securing loans and credit cards to getting approved for a rental property or job. However, not everyone has a good credit history; some may be tempted to turn to a CPN or Credit Protection Number as a solution.

What is a credit protection number?

It is a nine-digit number that some credit repair companies claim can be used instead of a social security number for credit or loan applications.

How does someone get a CPN?

Credit repair companies claiming to offer CPNs to improve your credit score or history are likely engaging in credit repair scams, which can result in further financial damage to your credit report. Therefore, protecting your social security number and personal information is important to avoid being a victim of identity theft and maintain a good credit score and history.

Is having a CPN illegal?

Yes, it is illegal to use a credit protection number.

How much does a CPN cost?

Using a CPN is a federal crime. Therefore, there should be no cost associated with obtaining a CPN. Credit repair companies that offer CPNs or credit repair services for a fee are likely engaging in credit repair scams, which can result in further financial trouble and damage your credit report.

What happens if you get caught with CPN?

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Legal consequences

Under federal law, using CPNs to apply for credit or personal loans, open a bank account, or commit any other financial crime is a federal crime.

If caught doing so, you may face legal consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, or both. The gravity of the penalty will depend on the kind of offense and the court’s discretion.

Fines can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the gravity of the offense. Imprisonment may also be imposed, ranging from months to years, depending on the circumstances.

If you are found guilty of using CPNs to commit financial fraud, you may face even harsher penalties, including additional fines and longer prison sentences. Kindly note that the consequences of using CPNs can have long-lasting effects, including a criminal record that could follow you for the rest of your life.

Damage your credit report

Using CPNs may seem like a quick fix, but it can lead to more financial trouble. This is because credit bureaus and financial institutions have ways of detecting CPNs and may view their use as fraudulent or even criminal.

Furthermore, some lenders may view the use of a CPN as evidence of potential identity theft or fraud and may take additional steps to verify your identity, potentially delaying or denying credit or loan applications.

Your credit account may be flagged or closed

When you apply for credit, lenders will check your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. They use this information to decide whether to approve or deny your application and what interest rate and terms to offer you. If you use a CPN to obtain credit, your credit account may be flagged, and the lender may discover that you obtained your credit score illegally.

Credit bureaus may also flag your credit report. When a credit file is flagged, it usually means that the credit bureau suspects fraud or other illegal activity and will investigate the matter further. Hence, resulting in the closure of your credit accounts.

Creditors may become wary of your credibility and may close your accounts to avoid potential losses. Hence, this negatively affects your credit score, thereby increasing the difficulty of obtaining credit in the future.

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Personal consequences

It may result in debt, bankruptcy, and difficulty obtaining employment or housing. Employers and landlords often perform credit checks, if your credit account is flagged or you are caught using a CPN, it could harm your chances of securing a job or a place to live.

Furthermore, if you are caught using CPNs, obtaining credit or loans in the future may be challenging. Creditors may perceive you as a high-risk borrower and may be reluctant to lend you money or extend your credit. If you do obtain credit, you may be required to pay a higher interest rate, and the terms may be less favorable than those offered to borrowers with good credit histories.

These consequences can be long-lasting and affect your financial stability and opportunities for years.

To hide a poor credit history

Using a CPN to hide a poor credit history is one reason people may turn to this practice. They may want to avoid the negative effects of their poor credit, such as being denied credit or paying higher interest rates. However, using a CPN to mask a bad credit history is illegal and can have serious consequences.

To start a new credit file after bankruptcy or identity theft

People may use CPNs to start a new credit file after experiencing bankruptcy or identity theft. Bankruptcy can severely impact a person’s credit score, making it difficult to obtain new credit accounts.

Similarly, identity theft can result in fraudulent accounts being opened in a person’s name, damaging their credit report. In these situations, individuals may feel that a CPN offers a solution to starting fresh with a new credit file.

However, this is not a legitimate approach and can have serious consequences. It is important to work with reputable credit counseling agencies or seek legal advice to navigate the aftermath of bankruptcy or identity theft instead of resorting to illegal methods like using a CPN.

To apply for credit without using their social security number

This is another reason some people may turn to CPNs. This is because some individuals may not feel comfortable sharing their social security numbers with certain companies or may not be eligible for credit due to their immigration status.

To obtain credit despite poor credit scores

Some people may use a CPN because it is sometimes marketed by credit repair companies to “start fresh” and repair credit. It’s always recommended to improve one’s credit score through legal and legitimate means rather than resorting to CPNs.

To engage in fraudulent activities

Some people use CPNs for fraudulent activities, such as credit card fraud. They may use the CPN to open new credit accounts, make purchases, and then disappear without paying the bills.

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How to rebuild your credit without using a CPN

To rebuild your credit without using a CPN, here are some steps you can take:

Pay your bills on time

Late payments can hurt your credit history, making it difficult to get credit in the future. To avoid missing due dates, set reminders for yourself or set up autopay on your accounts. If you’re having trouble covering all your bills immediately, contact the creditor and ask if you can change your due date.

Check your credit report regularly

Review your report for errors, such as accounts that don’t belong to you or late payments that were actually on time. If there is an error, dispute it with the credit bureau and the creditor.

Reduce your credit utilization ratio

Your credit utilization ratio (also debt-to-credit ratio) is the amount of your credit compare your credit limit. Using a significant percentage of your available credit can negatively affect your credit scores. Keep your debt-to-credit ratio under 30%. You can reduce your credit utilization ratio by doing the following:

Pay down your balances

Start by paying off the balances on your credit cards with the highest interest rates. Once you’ve paid those off, move on to the cards with the next highest rates. Focus on paying down your debts until your debt-to-credit ratio is below 30%.

Increase your credit limit

Another way to lower your credit utilization ratio is to ask your credit card issuer for a credit limit increase. However, be careful not to use the additional credit as an excuse to spend more. The goal is to increase your available credit while keeping your balance the same.

Consider a balance transfer

Transferring your balance to a card with a lower interest rate from a card with a high-interest rate may help you save money and lower your debt-to-credit ratio.
Read the terms and conditions carefully, as balance transfers often come with fees.

Use your credit cards responsibly

Once you’ve reduced your debt-to-credit ratio, it’s important to use your credit cards responsibly going forward.

Conclusion

It is always best to take a more legitimate approach to credit repair, such as working with a reputable credit counseling agency or seeking legal advice. Ultimately, the risks of using a CPN far outweigh any perceived benefits, and individuals should avoid engaging in such activities to protect their financial future.

Gintaras Baltusevicius

Gintaras is a fintech enthusiast with extensive experience working with startups in various industries, including cybersecurity, SaaS, and aviation. He has a passion for exploring new technologies and innovations in the financial industry and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.

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