Using a credit profile number, or CPN, is illegal and may result in identity theft criminal charges, the Federal Trade Commission advises. Most CPNs are obtained by stealing Social Security numbers. Using any number other than a personal Social Security number on a loan application is illegal.
Many fraudulent companies promise CPNs as a means of restoring credit histories, the Federal Trade Commission reports. Credit applicants are asked to use the nine-digit CPN on loan applications instead of actual Social Security numbers. Stolen numbers often belong to deceased individuals or children and are dormant Social Security numbers. The company or individual providing the number charges a fee for this service and frauds the consumer. Individuals who lie on credit applications, use any number besides their own Social Security number or apply for an Employer Identification Number in order to use it as a Social Security number alternative commit a federal crime and risk prosecution.
To reduce fraud, Social Security numbers are now issued using randomization to help prevent con artists from guessing numbers and stealing new numbers issued to children, Alliance Investigative states. Lenders may also use Social Security number verification software to catch CPN use and ensure applicants are using their own numbers.