PII – How To Protect Your Personal Gold Mine
During the California gold rush of 1849, that precious metal was so abundant no one worried about being robbed. There was plenty to go around. That soon changed as more and more strangers and crooks started showing up. Pretty soon it became easier to steal than to mine for gold. Not much has changed in the last 167 years. There are still hackers, scammers and thieves who wait along the trail to stop you and rob you of your gold – PII. Your Personally Identifiable Information.
Stop The Great PII Robbery
PII is the gold of the 21st century. Hackers, scammers and thieves are hard at work to separate you from that gold. So what is PII? Think of it as information, whether a partial piece or an entire file, that can be used to distinguish you from the other billions of people on the planet. Not just identify you – distinguish you.
Unlike gold, you can use PII over and over again. And shared with other evildoers. And sold multiple times over. Try that with a bar of gold. Back in the day it was unwise to sell that same bar of gold to more than one person.
So how to stop the great PII robbery? Five questions – that’s it.
Five Question Test
I put together a quick resource page HERE for you. Here’s the test you give everyone who asks for your PII, including your SSN, driver’s license, medical records, date of birth, passport, etc. Anything used to identity and distinguish you from the other humans on this crazy thing we call the Third Rock From The Sun.
- Why do you need it?
- How will it be used?
- What is the state or federal law that requires me to provide it?
- What happens if I refuse?
- How will you protect my information?
At the end of the day you, and only you, can make the decision if you’re comfortable enough to disclose the information. It could be a doctor or dentist office, elementary school, bank, job interview or one of a thousand other potential scenarios. As a result, I can’t tell you every possible situation. Instead, I’m giving you a way to evaluate each and every PII request.
When in doubt – just say no.