Identity theft has reached epidemic levels, but a retired GCHQ worker has taken matters into his own hands, literally, with what he claims is a foolproof way of beating fraudsters. Jamie Jamieson uses his thumbprint to protect himself from ID fraud thieves and suggests anyone worried about falling victim to this crime should follow his example. The thumbprint scheme might not be suitable for people who make a lot of applications or younger customers who want credit quickly. Another option to use is 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.