Should I use a CPN number to start a new credit profile?

Social Security Number , CPN Number

You are probably asking what is a CPN number? A CPN number stand for credit privacy number. Their main purpose is to give privacy to a high profile people such as celebrities, political figures and even people in the witness protection program the ability to hide their identity when applying for credit. So if people may apply for these numbers what actually makes CPN numbers illegal?

You are not required to put a social security number down on a credit application. It is a federal crime to misrepresent your social security number. People have gone to jail for using a CPN in lieu of their social security number. TIMATRESS TENAKA CADE, of Oklahoma City, did go to jail for using a CPN Number wrongfully. Part of the problem in her case was she purchased numerous items she had no intent on paying back. Using a CPN to purposely deceive retailers about your credit history is illegal. Even if someone was using a CPN number, they would have to let the credit institute know that their number was not a social security number.

You might ask what if I legitimately need a CPN number? We went to the Social Security Agency website to see where you could apply for one. They did not have a location but they did have a warning about them on their Office of the Inspector General website. It also discussed the charging for a CPN number, if anyone attempts to charge you for one this is illegal. Also, be very skeptical of any credit repair firm that uses this as a method of credit repair. Either way, if you did legitimately need one you should go the Social Security Office to ask them. You should not have to pay a fee for a CPN number. Also, when applying for credit let the creditor know this is a CPN and you will be using this in lieu of your Social Security Number.

Do not confuse an EIN number for a CPN number. An EIN is a Federal Employer Number for businesses. Yes, applying for credit with an EIN is legal but this if for business credit only. If you are a US citizen, using an ITIN is not legal, ITIN’s is for people who do not have a legal social security number, normally foreigners who have just arrived. Trying to use both these numbers in lieu of a social security number is still illegal.

From reading above, you probably have gathered this is not the way we will clean up your credit. Even if using a CPN Number in this fashion was legal, you would still have to start out creating credit on it. This would be like being in your 20’s and building credit from scratch. One of the important parts of proper credit repair is we don’t want to abandon tradelines that you have that are healthy on your credit report. In other words, this should take about the same amount of time to build credit on a CPN number as it would to legitimately repair your credit.

We try to stick the facts and dispute your credit based off of that. We try to assist you to create new credit that can be reported with credit agencies to raise your score. The biggest reason of all not to try the CPN number tactic is it doesn’t help your financial problems go away it just avoids them.

Good personal finance strategies attack your problems not pushes them off or away. If someone has tried to offer this as a way to repair your credit, don’t hesitate to contact us at Wasatch Smart Finance. We will come up with a plan to assist you in repairing your credit with methodologies that don’t break the law. While you’re here check the article on how to pick the best credit repair firm.

I have a secret clearance is good credit important?

Secret Clearance, Good Credit, Wasatch Smart Finance

When I was in the military, I had little knowledge of credit much less how credit affected my secret clearance. There were zero classes about credit and your clearance when I was in the military. If you’re in the military, more than likely you have a secret or higher clearance. These clearances get renewed every 5 to 10 years. Let’s face it most spillers of classified information have done so for monetary reasons. This makes the Department of Defense and other similar agencies vigilant that you have no financial issues.

There are a lot of military members that just are not really good with financial decisions. When I was deployed to Bosnia, there was a soldier who bought a brand new car with his deployment money, too bad that wasn’t enough between the car payments and insurance, he couldn’t afford the gas to go anywhere. This happens to a lot of service members, maybe this happened to you? Sometimes it’s credit cards, sometimes its bad checks due to being separated from their checking account, either way, all these small financial mistakes can add up.

If you have ever deployed, your mail gets forwarded to you. Still, there are times not all mail makes it to you. A missed bill could easily happen, these bills could end up with a debt collector. This same thing could happen if you PCS to a new location. Mail could just not catch up to you. Whether your financial issues were carelessness or just bad luck it’s best to get on top of them early.

What about becoming a victim of identity fraud? While deployed its very easy for someone to get a hold of your personal information and use it to gain access to your credit. Due to the delay in your mail, it might be a while to find out that someone has accessed and using your credit. Getting identity fraud off your report is easy but you must be truthful and be ready to do a police report. One way to prevent identity fraud while deployed is to freeze your credit report while deployed. Another way is to use credit monitoring to inform you if someone has accessed your credit.

Another credit issue that might turn up is giving someone a General Power of Attorney when they don’t need one. Who knows what kind of debt they could open in your name with this legal document. Do yourself a favor and stick with a special power of attorneys in all cases. Though while I worked as a legal specialist, we did not have any case where someone abused it, there always is a chance.

What can you do to check your credit report before it gets time to renew your secret clearance? Due to your secret clearance being part of your livelihood, you should head to at least a year in advance of you having to do your SF 86. Once you have filled out the length of time for the investigation to complete could be anywhere from 6 to 18 months depending on the type of clearance. As you go through the 3 bureaus ensure you print that report to PDF (or save to PDF). This way you can go back and review what might be items that you need to dispute or at least have an explanation ready for the issue for your security clearance investigator.

What about judgments, bankruptcy, child support or foreclosures? These are all negative items that you have to report on your SF 86. Even if you can get them off your credit report, tell the truth and be honest about them to the investigator and make sure you are paying them off or will pay them off. Show positive action to the investigator and it will help out your chances with getting your clearance renewed. The positive thing about a clearance investigation is they are not focused on your credit score, they are focused on the discrepancies on the credit report.

If your credit report is not as good as you think it should be or you have confusion about how your credit report will affect your clearance, don’t hesitate to contact us at Wasatch Smart Finance. We will come up with a plan for repairing your credit to prevent you from losing your clearance. Contact us today and we will do a free credit analysis and we waive your first work fees and 10 dollars per month off if you are a military member. Also, if you are a civilian employee or contractor we can help you with your credit report also. While you’re here check the article on whether a secured credit card can help you.

When should I use a secured credit card?

secured credit card

In 2003, my credit was a mess. It had multiple marks from multiple issues. I owed to a school, I owed on a student loan and had bought a water bed that needed to be paid off. I know what you are thinking. Who the heck owns a waterbed it wasn’t 1970. On the serious side, I had zero positive accounts because I had not lived in the US for over 5 years. While I worked to get the negative items off my credit report, I also need to start putting positive items on my credit reports.

One of the first things I did was put 300 USD on a secured credit card with Wells Fargo. I used the card a little and paid it off every month. Just like any regular card you don’t want to charge more than 30% to it because if you do this will hurt your credit rating also. Even if you don’t pay it off every month you want to make at least double the minimum payment. It wouldn’t hurt to turn on autopay to ensure the card gets paid every month.

Secure credit cards can also be great if you are new to the world of credit and no one will give you a card. They are especially great when you have had a bankruptcy and no one will give you credit for you to start rebuilding yours. They are also great when you are young and you have no way to build credit.

When do secured credit cards not make sense? If you already have active credit cards that might have late payments on them you probably don’t need a secured credit card. Instead, you should dispute those late payments or try to ask the credit card company to delete the late payments. If you have at least 3 credit cards, you don’t need a secure credit card either.

We have worked with to bring you a great deal on a secured credit card. This is a MasterCard card and reports to all 3 bureaus. You need a minimum of 200 USD to open it. We recommend this card because it does report to all 3 of the credit bureaus. This will help in getting your score raised across the board. In fact, with just one positive tradeline like this, you could possibly get your score raised as much as 50 points.

Do you have questions about secured credit cards or your credit score in general? Don’t hesitate to get a hold of us so we can do a free credit analysis with you.

Does a debt collector have to be licensed in my state?

Debt Collector

We would first like to mention one should always try to pay their debts. We also feel it is your best interest credit report wise and for your reputation to pay the originator of the debt. This is best for your credit report, credit score and general reputation. Still, there are many times that debt is unqualified, unfair, unverified, invalidated, created under false pretenses such as no upfront pricing or you just can’t pay it. What are your options after that? Let’s be realistic—no one has the time or money to take every bad customer experience to the court.

If a debt collector is from your state, he has much more options to address this debt if you were not to pay. He may even choose to take you to court. Always take more caution with debt collectors in your state. They can begin to raise the price of what you allegedly owe. Our advice with in-state debt collectors is to never throw the letter off to the side (or any debt collector). Our advice is to respond immediately to ask for proof of license, verification of the debt or a reason and proof why you do owe the debt. Responding to the debt collector immediately is always in your best interest.

Some have often attempted to say that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not require them to provide verification of debts after their first letter. This is not true, always demand verification and state you can and will not pay until the said debt is verified. If he can’t verify it with you, how could he do it in a court of law? If the debt collector refuses to provide validation or verification of the debt, send him a letter denying him payment based on that.

You should always require the debt collector to prove the debt is yours. You should also ask for a copy of his license to collect debts in your state. If the debt collector does not have one then he may not legally collect debts in the state of Utah. If he is from out of state, he will most likely not have a license for the state of Utah. Sadly in Utah, the requirements to be a debt collector are rather low but licensure is still a requirement. In some other states, the requirements might be even lower. Our custom template letter for out of state debt collectors can be located here.

After asking to see the license and the debt collector fails to respond with a copy of his license, you should mail a letter to him denying him his right to collect the debt. Place a limit on the number of days in the letter and tell him to cease contact with the credit bureaus about this debt. Also, place language in the letter if he continues you will turn him over to your state’s district attorney and consumer protection group if he does not cease. Keep a copy of this letter in your records to show the credit bureaus or courts if the debt collector continues to pursue the issue. We advise never to threaten to sue unless you actually plan on doing it. The same goes for threatening to turn debt collectors into agencies if you do not plan to. We also advise sending all letters to debt collectors in your state with certified mail. This shows you are keeping an accurate record of communication with this entity. Once, a step further could also be a log of debt collector interaction. You want to keep track of how they interact with you in case they are violating the law.

Template letters can be found at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau . Utah Courts also has some advice on how to handle debt collectors. If you don’t understand these letters, or ever feel overwhelmed by debt collectors contacting you or confusion about how this affects your credit report, don’t hesitate to contact us at Wasatch Smart Finance. We will come up with a plan to handle them, along with a plan for repairing your credit. While you’re here check the article on how to pick the best credit repair firm.

I don’t have a budget, where should I start and does credit repair even matter if I don’t have one?


Our primary business, of course, is credit repair, but credit repair will never be successful without a good budget. Would you believe that less than 33% of all people have a budget? A positive financial picture extends beyond “good credit”. Good credit is usually just a symptom of a positive financial picture. The best positive financial picture is a surplus of money every month and the best place to start with is a good budget. I usually use Excel to start mine, but if you don’t have Excel remember Office Libre and Google Docs are free. In fact, I placed a template on Google docs to share with you.

Let’s go line by line through the budget I linked you to.

  1. Rent/Mortgage: This is everybody’s major expense. It should be paid first because it is the hardest one to pay. Also, no one wants the hardships that come with not paying rent.
  2. Car Payment: Your car gets you to work. This one needs to be paid next. If you don’t have a car payment, put money in your emergency savings account for you next car.
  3. Groceries: I usually have one line item for groceries and as I shop at different grocery stores I subtract from the main grocery line item putting less in that line item and keeping track of my whole grocery spending.
  4. Right below Groceries is Costco which let’s face it is mostly food items. Replace with Sams club or any other warehouse club you might belong too. Take a list of what you need it’s easy to stock up on stuff you don’t need at these locations.
  5. Restaurants/Fast food and Bars, This is where all your convenience eating should be whether it is going to a nice 5-star restaurant or Taco Bell place it in here. This is a good place to put entertainment that might be combined such as bars, of course, delete this part if it is not relevant or if it is, make it it’s own line item.
  6. Credit Card. We all know credit cards are not beneficial but whatever your minimum payment make sure to stick it on auto-pay to ensure you don’t have late payments. Make extra payments when you can.
  7. Gas Vehicular: Gas for your car is not cheap. Especially if you commute. This should be an average of gas used for your vehicles.
  8. Electricity: I would line item every single one of your utilities. Put the most expensive one at the top.
  9. Gas House (Natural): Most of us use natural gas to heat our houses put this line next. Of course, if you use propane or something else swap this line item out.
  10. City Utilities: This is where I put my city utilities like water and trash that are managed by the city.
  11. Car Insurance: Car Insurance is usually a monthly bill if you pay it every six months place it in here then
  12. Internet and Television: I usually combine Internet and Television together as most people purchase these together. If you have them from different providers make each one its own line item.
  13. Netflix: We all have Netflix its a low cost but all subscriptions should be tracked on their own line items.
  14. Hulu: My cable TV replacement they brought the price down to 5.99.
  15. Redbox: We have started doing movies from them since Netflix Blu rays was not making it back one time.
  16. Timeshare/Vacation: I have a timeshare that I pay monthly maintenance. Either way, you need a vacation once a year save for that vacation on a monthly basis to take the bite out of it.
  17. Amazon: The thing about Amazon there are some products that can only be found here. Track your total Amazon purchases together from the beginning of the month. Make a separate line item for each purchase.
  18. Activities: Whatever activities you do whether it be mini-golf, real golf, skiing or movies they should be tracked. If there are many give them there own line item.
  19. Medical (Prescriptions): If you have reoccurring medical costs make a line item for them.
  20. Emergency Fund: Everyone should have an Emergency Fund put something in this every month.
  21. Vices: Whether you head to the liquor store or the candy store make a line item fo

This is not an all-encompassing budget. You might have additional lines or items to place in here. All of your expenses might be more than what you have incoming. It doesn’t matter the first step in the right direction is to sit down and find out what your expenses and income are. We will post more in the future how to shave this off.

Do you share finances with a spouse or other loved one? Spend the time to go through the budget with them monthly. Get an agreement on how things should be spent should create greater harmony throughout your household. Use your Google Drive to share the file with them so you can update it live to ensure you are aware of what the other one is spending.

Let’s hope this article inspired you to create a budget. credit repair is important, If you have bad credit then you pay more for loans. Having a good budget along with good credit will help bring that total Financial Health Picture. If you have questions about your budget and credit repair don’t hesitate to call or contact us at Wasatch Smart Finance. Check out this great article on whether CPN Numbers are legal!

Don’t make these mistakes when looking for the right credit repair agency!


There are more and more credit repair firms every day. There are some that are even getting sued! How can you pick one that properly assists you in getting a better score? How can you separate the wheat from the chafe? We have some advice on how to pick the best credit repair company.

The first thing you should do is to check your state’s division of consumer protection. Most states require that credit repair agencies be permitted in that state. If they are not permitted, they more than likely are not bonded either. If they are not bonded, they are not protected from actions taken against them by customers and with one small lawsuit could disappear overnight. Stick with an agency that is permitted and bonded in your state.

Another feature you should look for to find a legitimate credit repair company is to check if they are certified. Certification in any discipline shows that people have taken classes or exams in their field of discipline. One known certification is the Board Certified Credit Consultant. You can even go to the Boards site to check on their members to see if they have an A or F rating. This is not the only certification but it is highly recognized throughout the field.

Can they advise you on how to handle debt collectors? Debt Collectors are ruthless and constantly violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). They should be able to explain your rights to you and how to best interact with them to prevent further damage. Many of the well-known agencies don’t even touch this aspect in credit repair and we ask how could you not?

In addition, looking for a local credit repair agency that will meet with you in person if you so wish is another important feature. If they can’t meet with you in person, they should at least contact you every 45 days to discuss the action that happened on your last round of disputes. Another reason to pick a local credit repair agency is they will be more in sync with the local laws related to credit bureaus, creditors and debt collectors. Often in-state debt collectors can be more aggressive and a local credit repair agency will be affiliated with a local credit repair attorney if you do need one.

One of the first signs you picked the wrong group to work with is you will not receive notifications from the credit bureaus every 30 to 60 days. If they are disputing for you, they should have you turning over those notifications to them so they can judge their success on the last round. There is no such thing as fast credit repair, but if you are not receiving the reports from the bureaus then move on. Your credit repair specialist should make sure to discuss with you.

Other issues should be how did this company find you as a lead? Was it through a solid recommendation such as an affiliate that you both know? Or did you get hit by bulk e-mailing, or even worse a robocall that was aimed at your number for whatever reason? Avoid credit repair firms that utilize the unauthorized telemarketing and violate the Do Not Call Registry.

If you are looking for a local firm, pick one that cares about your long term financial strategy and one that has some type of financial coaching in place. Part of that should be the asking why you to want a better credit score and what your financial goals are. Most of you are repairing your credit for a big goal such as buying a new home or car. Find a firm that brings you to that goal!

If you have any questions on how we can help with your credit score, check out our Contact Page and send us a message! Also, check our article about the important parts of your credit score.

What are the important parts that make up your FICO Credit Score?

Fico Score

Let’s face facts-your FICO Credit Score can be a bit of a mystery. How can one even begin to repair credit if they are unaware of the many components of the FICO Credit Score? Whether you pay an agency to repair your credit or you do it your self, you need to know what are the big fish to fry. Now you can know what FICO uses and this will help you from making mistakes in the present and the future.

  1. Payment History

The most important factor in your credit score is your payment history. FICO watches your revolving loans, which are credit cards, and your installment loans, examples being mortgages and student loans. If you had to pick between defaulting on your home loan and a small loan, go for the small loan because the bigger loan will eat into your FICO score. Still, for either one sure you are making timely payments and that they are consistent. Some companies will even report you if you have a good payment history with them and some will be slow to take it away even after years of good payments.

This credit utilization category gets rated at 35% of your total score.

2. Credit utilization

Credit utilization or debt amounts are the next most important. Revolving lines of credit allow a consumer to borrow as little or as much as desired. Credit cards are an example of a revolving account. If you want the maximum benefits of having credit cards, do not max them out. As an easy to follow rule, keep your credit cards under 30 percent on each credit card you have and also keep your total revolving credit under 30 percent. On the flip side of this, it is also good to use a card once in a while to show it’s being used. We have all been in a crunch where we have been careless and loaded up on our credit credits, still if you are looking to get a home or car loan make sure your credit cards are paid down.

This credit utilization category gets rated at 30% of your total score.

3. Length of credit history

One of the biggest mistakes I have ever made was closing a credit card because they did not raise my limit. I did not learn until later that this tradeline was gold as far as your credit score goes. If you are new to credit your score will be lower until you have some aged. The longer your credit history is the easier the credit bureaus and lenders can evaluate your ability to pay back.

This credit utilization category gets rated at 15% of your total score.

4. New credit

Nothing hurts your credit like applying for a whole bunch of it in a short time period. To lenders, this looks like you are in trouble and need credit. If you are getting denied credit stop applying immediately until you do a good evaluation of your credit score. The good news if most hard credit inquiries will be off your report in 2 years, unlike other items.

This credit utilization category gets rated at 10% of your total score.

5. Credit mix

This category can be kind of esoteric at times but it basically breaks down it to showing that we have been paying a variety of debt products. FICO states their data shows that when borrowers have a variety of credit they are more likely to pay it back. This decreases your risk profile to lenders. Also don’t load up on say credit cards and then have no installment loans. This takes away from that mix.

This credit utilization category gets rated at 10% of your total score.

If you have any questions on how we can help with your FICO credit score check out our Contact Page and send us a message! Also, check our article about picking the right credit repair firm!