A quick search on Google will bring up numerous Youtube videos and companies offering CPNs. I get several questions a week asking “what I think about Credit Profile Numbers.” I wrote my view on CPNs suggesting you approach such an offer with extreme caution.
A CPN is a multi-digit number that looks very similar to a Social Security number. Companies offering credit repair or a new credit profile sell credit profile numbers to people looking to improve their credit. But it’s turning out to be a new form of identity theft.
ABC News’ “Nightline” found out about one man who was offering CPN numbers named Donald Batiste operating out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Batiste advertised his services to customers all over the country as a fresh start to people with past credit problems.
Baptiste offered CPNs as a legal replacement for a Social Security number. He advised customers they could open new credit accounts, apply for lines of credit and even auto loans with the CPN. The caveat, people must alter their address when applying for new credit. This would create a new profile and new creditors would be unable to link the customer with their old Social Security number.
What Baptiste did not know or failed to tell his customers was that using a CPN in place of a Social Security number on credit applications is a federal crime. Consumers that purchase a CPN to use on a credit application may be committing several crimes, including identity theft and making false statements on loan or credit application.
Baptiste admitted in an interview with Nightline when asked about CPNs that “We build them.” “We go into the system, we apply for this new credit profile number through the Social Security Administration,” he said.
The Social Security Administration told Nightline that they do not issue CPNs.
CPNs are a guessing game
CPNs are basically just made up numbers. The problem with this is that a company issuing a CPN might give you a CPN that is actually a Social Security number of someone else, the Social Security number of a child or a Social Security number that has yet to be issued.
Users of CPNs could be committing Identity Theft
Batiste was recently arrested by Louisiana authorities in Baton Rouge, after turning himself in. He is accused of orchestrating a national financial fraud scheme that has resulted in the theft of more than 300 identities and more than $5 million in fraud. His official charges are felony racketeering and one count of criminal conspiracy. If convicted, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
In a news release by Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, an alleged co-conspirator of Donald Batiste, Brenda Milson Taylor, was booked into a Baton Rouge, LA jail. She faces counts of racketeering and criminal conspiracy to commit racketeering.
According to The Advocate, Taylor used counterfeit bank records in an attempt to receive a $250,000 loan from Batiste’s company by misrepresenting that the loan was for her church. She’s also accused of using a fraudulent Social Security number to get auto loans for a 2009 Ford Flex and a 2007 Mercedes Benz.
Many of those CPNs that Baptiste allegedly issued were actually social security numbers of children, authorities said.
“Through our investigation, we found that many of the Social Security numbers were stolen from children. When we reached out to the victims’ parents, they had absolutely no clue that their kid’s identity had been stolen,” Louisiana Attorney General David Caldwell said.
Baptiste’s ex-wife, Jessica Clements-Batiste, also faces racketeering counts for helping her former spouse, Donald Batiste, trick hundreds of people into buying “Credit Profile Numbers” that were actually stolen Social Security numbers.
Clements-Batiste herself allegedly purchased an H3 Hummer using a CPN. Clements-Batiste allegedly also worked with professional forgers to create fake Social Security cards, bank statements, utility bills and tax documents.
The scheme allegedly involved more than $1 million in auto loans that were funded, the release stated, with another $1.2 million fraudulently received on credit lines, credit cards and cell phone purchases. In addition, stolen Security numbers were used for more than $3 million in other loan applications.
Stay away from CPNs. Companies promoting CPNs could be a scam. CPNs may cause you to unintentionally commit fraud. Rebuild your credit history the right way. It make take a little longer but your freedom is worth far more than a quick fix to restore your credit.