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Nov 7, 2022, 06:16 PM 22 read

What Is PII Personally Identifiable Information?

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The term “personally identifiable information” (PII) is used a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? In this blog post, we will explore the definition of PII and some common examples. We will also discuss why PII is important and how you can protect your own information.   What is personally identifiable information (PII)?   Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. This includes, but is not limited to, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers.   In the digital age, PII can also include things like IP addresses and cookies. And with the rise of social media, PII can also include things like usernames and passwords.   PII is important because it can be used to commit identity theft or fraud. If someone obtains your PII, they can use it to open new accounts in your name, make purchases in your name, or even file for tax refunds in your name.   Protecting your PII is important to prevent identity theft and fraud. You should never give out your PII unless you are absolutely sure who you are giving it to and why they need it. Be especially careful when sharing your PII online. Make sure you are using a secure website before entering any sensitive information.   How is PII collected?   PII can be collected in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:   Asking individuals to provide their information directly   Gathering data from public sources   Tracking an individual’s online activity   Collecting information through cookies and other tracking technologies   Each method of collecting PII has its own set of risks and benefits that businesses should weigh when deciding what data to collect and how to collect it. For example, collecting PII directly from individuals gives businesses the most control over how that information is used and protected, but it also requires more effort on the part of the business and may result in lower participation rates.   What are the consequences of PII being mishandled?   There are a number of potential consequences if PII is mishandled. These can range from minor inconveniences to major issues, depending on the sensitivity of the information involved. For example, if your name and address are released without your consent, you may receive unwanted mail or even visits from strangers.   In more serious cases, identity theft or fraud could occur if your Social Security number or financial information is released. In the worst-case scenario, PII could be used to threaten or blackmail an individual.   How can you protect your PII?   There are a few key things you can do to protect your PII: Be vigilant about protecting your login information, social security number, and other sensitive data. Don’t store this information on your computer or in an unsecured location.   Create passwords that are long, unique, and contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use easily guessed words like your name or birthdate.   Social media is a great way to connect with friends and family, but be careful about what information you share. Avoid sharing too much personal information or posting anything that could put you at risk.   Protect your computer from malware and viruses by keeping your antivirus software up-to-date. This will help keep your personal information safe from hackers who may try to access it through malicious software.   Check your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity. This can help you catch identity theft early and take steps to fix it quickly.   For businesses that deal with PII, there are software solutions to ensure that client information is safeguarded. To know more about a robust pii data security service, make sure you visit https://www.verygoodsecurity.com/use-cases/pii and ensure that securing pii is a breeze.   Conclusion   Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. This includes things like names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and more. PII can be used to commit fraud or theft, so it's important to keep your own PII safe and secure. Be careful about giving out PII to others, and only do so if you're sure the recipient is trustworthy.      

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