PII is short for Personal Identifiable Information, which refers to any data that can identify a specific person. A hacker can exploit your PII to gain access to restricted areas, make unapproved purchases under your name, or even steal your identity entirely. To keep these incidents from happening, you must know about protecting your personally identifiable information. This is a practice that you must do both online and offline.
Physical Ways of Protecting Your PII
Although we now do most of our business online, there is still a lot of tangible data that hackers can get their hands on if you are not careful. Mail, account statements, and utility bills all have PII like your name, full address, and account numbers on them. Thus, you need to keep these documents safe from data thieves.
One of the crucial steps in protecting your personal identifiable information is the safe storage of your documents. You can start by having a lock on your mailbox, which is a must. You can also use a secure PO Box where only you can access your mail. It is also advisable to keep your important documents in a fireproof safe at home instead of carrying them around in your purse.
Scrutinize Your Mail
When you get bills or account statements, go through them carefully and check for items you might not recognize. Even better, check your financial statements online regularly instead of waiting for the paper bill. Mail is notorious for including your PII, and is why mail theft is so common.
Use a Shredder
Never throw away bank statements or any financial documents, even if you don’t need them anymore. Hackers are not beneath the practice of dumpster diving, trying to recover any data that can help them do their dirty work. Invest in a personal shredder that you can use to dispose of sensitive documents.
Digital Ways of Protecting Your PII
It is now much easier for hackers to get access to people’s data because almost everything is online. Be very careful when traversing the web to keep your PII safe.
Choose Strong Passwords
Good passwords are hard to figure out because they use a combination of letters, numbers, and other special characters. Change your passwords at least once a month for more security.
Use Only One Credit Card
You are at greater risk of having your credit card information stolen if you frequently shop online. Don’t use more than one credit card when shopping online, this will keep your PII safer and less likely to be stolen.
Whether you are browsing the web, checking your email, or checking your social media accounts, always keep your guard up. Do not click on suspicious links or attachments, and ignore pop-ups because these are all likely to contain malware.
PII: Steps to Take If You Think You Were Hacked
Despite all your precautions for protecting your personal identifiable information, you may still feel that someone has compromised your data. There are a few critical things that you need to take care of right away. Instead of going into a full-blown panic, we strongly recommend that you follow our FREE 10-step guide on what to do if you think you have been hacked. You might feel helpless at first, but by following this guide, you will get on the road to recovery much faster and have a good chance of recovering your data and regaining control of your network. To learn more about protecting your personally identifiable information and keeping your network safe, you can check out the many useful resources we have or give us a call!