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Can You Go to Jail for Using a CPN to Get an Apartment
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Can You Go to Jail for Using a CPN to Get an Apartment

The world of credit can be confusing, and the dire need for secure housing can push some individuals to explore alternate methods for obtaining an apartment. One such method that’s been gaining some popularity is the use of a Credit Privacy Number, or CPN. But the critical question many may have is, can you go to jail for using a CPN to get an apartment? To understand the legal implications, we need to delve deeper into what a CPN is and the laws surrounding it.

What is a CPN?

A Credit Privacy Number (CPN) is a nine-digit identifier that some companies market as a replacement for a social security number (SSN) in credit-related circumstances. The theory behind a CPN is to shield your SSN from being used on credit applications, potentially protecting you from identity theft or credit-related fraud. However, its actual use, legality, and the risks involved are more complicated than they might seem at first glance.

Contrary to some beliefs, using a CPN isn’t inherently illegal. A legitimate CPN is used for high-profile individuals or people in witness protection programs to maintain their privacy. However, the trouble arises when CPNs are misused or manipulated.

Many companies who sell CPNs are actually providing stolen Social Security Numbers, often from children or the deceased. Using a CPN in this manner is undoubtedly illegal. It qualifies as identity theft, a federal crime that can lead to significant fines and imprisonment.

Furthermore, even if the CPN is not tied to a stolen SSN, using it to misrepresent your credit history or to create a “new” credit identity is considered a form of fraud under U.S. law. This act falls under the category of providing false information on credit and loan applications, which is a crime punishable by law. However, there are any other actions that aren’t considered crime. For example, you won’t go to jail for not paying a payday loan. Lenders will just rely on the collection agency to recoup their loses.

Using a CPN to Rent an Apartment

So, what does this mean for someone who is considering using a CPN to rent an apartment? Applying for an apartment often involves a credit check, and if you use a CPN in place of your SSN for that credit check, you may be crossing into dangerous territory.

If the CPN is linked to a stolen SSN or used to misrepresent your credit history, you’re committing a crime. This form of fraud could lead to serious consequences, including criminal charges. If found guilty, penalties can range from hefty fines to prison sentences, depending on the specifics of the case.

Moreover, even from a non-legal perspective, using a CPN in this manner can be a risky proposition. Many landlords and property management companies are aware of the dubious nature of CPNs, and if they discover that a potential tenant has used a CPN on their application, they may deny the application outright.


In conclusion, while using a CPN is not in itself illegal, the misuse of a CPN to rent an apartment can lead to severe legal consequences, including potential imprisonment. It is far better to work on improving your credit score through legitimate means than to risk legal trouble by using a CPN. If you’re struggling with your credit, consider seeking advice from a credit counselor or financial advisor to explore the many legal options available to you. Remember, it’s always better to stay on the right side of the law.

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