Personally Identifiable Information: Dos and Don’ts

Any detail that may be used to identify a single person is called personally identifiable information, or PII fort. Examples of personally identifiable information include full name, date of birth, driver’s license number, Social Security number, bank account numbers, passport numbers, and even email addresses. 

Keeping your personal information safe is of the utmost importance these days when you are asked to share so much information to participate in normal life. Here are a few tips of things to do and things to avoid when it comes to your PII. 

Although, you may not believe that the information that you share on social media is valuable or considered PII, think again. Many online security questions for non-social media platforms ask questions where, if a criminal looked just a little deeper than on the surface, a nefarious individual would be able to gain access to an important account. If you’re connected with your mother on social media, it might not be a good idea to answer the security question, “what is your mother’s maiden name?”. Or “what is your dog’s name?” might be one to avoid too, especially if you have an entire album on your Facebook dedicated to the pooch. Don’t share personal information on your social media and/or don’t choose security questions with answers that can be found on your social media. 

Beyond social media, there are other methods that you should use to take to protect your PII. Take the extra time to shred any documents that contain any PII, which means that you should also shred the credit card offers that arrive unsolicited because those contain your address, name, and sometimes even your date of birth on them. Do shred all documents that have your name, address, or other identifying information. 

Even at places that are required to follow HIPAA laws, it might be a good idea to exercise caution when handing over your Social Security number. The answer to the question, do I need to provide my Social Security number to receive healthcare? – NO. Only in some circumstances are you required to provide that very valuable information to the office of the service provider. In most cases the service provider’s office will be able to use some other bit of data to distinguish your file from the others in their office. Don’t share your Social Security number with healthcare providers. 

LibertyID provides expert, full service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.

*Extended families – primary individual, their spouse/partner, both sets of parents (including those that have been deceased for up to a year), and all children under the age of 25