The American Association of Consumer Credit Professionals (AACCP) issued a warning to consumers today regarding recent reports of a rise in fraudulent “credit privacy number” scams by scam artists posing as credit repair professionals.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identifies “credit privacy numbers” as a type of credit repair scam that every consumer should be aware of. To help protect themselves, consumers need to know what a credit privacy number is, what red flags to look out for and any alternative legal solutions they should consider instead.
“As the only trade association representing reputable and ethical credit repair professionals, we are increasingly concerned about the use of ‘credit privacy number’ scams by rogue credit repair firms,” said Jen McCadden, Executive Director of the AACCP. “Credit repair professionals work responsibly every day to help the millions of Americans with latent errors on their credit reports contest these errors and rebuild their lives. These predatory credit privacy number scams are not what reputable credit repair companies do. This is another example of why the AACCP is leading efforts to professionalize the credit repair industry so consumers know who they can trust.”
What Is a Credit Privacy Number?
There are particular scenarios in which a person can get a new, legal SSN from the government. The Social Security Administration will consider an application for a new SSN if:
- A person is being abused, being harassed or in danger when using their old Social Security number.
- You can prove that your Social Security number has been stolen and someone else is using it. You will also have to provide evidence that the misuse is causing you harm in one way or another.
It’s important to note that even with a new SSN, you can’t ever “get away from” your old Social Security number and credit information. Government agencies may keep records under your original SSN. Additionally, credit reporting agencies will likely tie your new SSN to your previous file, so you aren’t guaranteed a completely fresh start.
Look for Legitimate Credit Repair Solutions
While getting a new number and starting fresh may sound like an easy solution, it’s simply a lie. You can’t escape your credit history. The good news is that anyone can take steps to improve their credit. Having a low credit score is not a permanent sentence—you can take actions that will help it increase over time. These actions include making payments on time and in full, lowering your debt, maintaining a reasonable credit utilization ratio and more.
When you look for credit repair solutions, always work with reputable, safe companies. A shady company might try to rope you into a credit privacy number scam, but a proper credit repair organization will never go that route. Instead, a good credit repair company will explain to you their process for analyzing and removing inaccurate negative items from your credit report, mention your rights under the Credit Repair Organizations Act and not ask for payment before services are performed.
You can check whether a credit repair company is legitimate by looking at how long it’s been in business, as illegitimate companies tend to be shut down quickly.
And finally, if you fall victim to a CPN scam, you can report the organization to your state attorney general and file a complaint with the FTC and BBB.