WHAT: Social Security numbers never used for obtaining credit are being sold throughout the Internet for as much as several thousand dollars apiece. Code-labeled as CPNs (credit protection numbers) they mostly belong to children, who probably won’t apply for credit anytime soon.
HOW: Hundreds of online dealers use computers to generate random Social Security numbers within the range associated with specific years and locations. Then they access public databases to determine whether these numbers are being used for obtaining credit.
WHY IT WORKS: Dormant Social Security numbers can easily run up debts for several years without being detected. Sellers skirt illegality with complex disclaimers that disavow illegal activity and warn customers against using their numbers in place of real Social Security numbers.