Late last year, it was predicted credit card fraud would increase during the holidays. The numbers are in, fraud attempts grew by 31 percent, according to payments firm ACI Worldwide, with one fraudulent attempt recorded for every 97 transactions. The growth in fraud, particularly online where thieves can more easily make illegal transactions without having a physical card in hand, appears unabated. After thieves steal your credit card data either by swiping your numbers at checkout or, increasingly, by buying breached credit data online they tend to buy popular consumer items they can later sell on the black market. When there is rising credit card fraud you need to protect yourself!
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. It’s not 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.