Unfortunately, data breaches and the theft and disclosure of personal information are becoming an almost daily occurrence. As initially reported, the massive Equifax data breach has raised major concerns for approximately 143 million Americans with a credit record of any kind. However, as reported this month, 2.5 million more people may have been exposed. Equifax maintains comprehensive personal information on the credit histories of millions of people, along with Social Security numbers and other sensitive information that is extremely valuable to identity thieves. The Equifax breach has ignited an epic sense of alarm resulting in the need for individuals to proactively safeguard their personal information. You can protect your personal information by using a CPN.
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. A CPN isn’t always a substitute for an SSN, though: You can’t use it for documents submitted to the IRS or an employer, registering a vehicle or applying for a government loan, for instance. If you have a CPN, it’s on you to know when you can and can’t use it.