The CPN is a nine-digit identification number that looks like a social security number (SSN) and may be used in lieu of an SSN, for such purposes as obtaining credit.
One has the legal right to keep his/her SSN private. In certain circumstances, consumers are required by law to disclose their SSN, such as to the Internal Revenue Service, employers, when registering a motor vehicle, buying a firearm, or applying for a federally insured loan. In other circumstances, federal law allows consumers to legally use a separate identification number, hence the opportunity to establish a CPN for a credit file. CPNs are commonly used by celebrities, members of Congress, and witnesses protected by the federal government to help protect their privacy and security.