Bad Credit? You're Still a Target For Identity Thieves

If your credit score is below 580, identity thieves still have the desire to steal your personal information. While the stolen identity of a wealthy or high-credit consumer may be worth more to shady traders on the dark web, people with lower incomes and poor credit are as vulnerable as anyone else. It really doesn’t make any difference what socioeconomic class you’re from. It only requires someone’s Social Security number to begin the process of creating a synthetic identity. Your Social Security number alone can be used to obtain fraudulent identity cards, bank and utility accounts and even some payday loans, whether you have bad credit or none at all. Even newborn babies aren’t safe from identity theft, since they can be issued Social Security numbers within days or weeks of being born.

A credit privacy number, or CPN, is a nine-digit ID that can be used in lieu of a Social Security number for credit reporting and other financial purposes, like applying for a loan. Like an SSN, each person can only have one CPN. It’s used as a unique identifier for your financial transactions and lets lenders and credit reporting agencies keep an eye on your borrowing history. However, a CPN can help you keep your finances safe and hidden from the public eye. For that reason, it’s popular among elected officials, celebrities and people in witness protection programs. As the name implies, it’s mostly used by people who need a little extra privacy.