It’s Personal!

OK – we always say “don’t give out personal information”, but what all does that mean? Say someone comes to your door and wants to chat before selling you something. Someone calls on the phone, or you get a real-looking email. What don’t you want to tell them?

What is considered personal information is numbers. Numbers for your: Social security, Medicare or Medicaid, medical insurance, driver’s license, bank account, credit or debit card, street address.

But wait, there’s more! Also considered personal information is your middle name, your mother’s maiden name, the town you were born in, the town from which you graduated high school, the year you graduated, a favorite pet’s name. Seriously, Jean? Yes, seriously. Many people use a pet’s name as part of their password system, and may even say the pet’s name during a phone call.

Some of the damage criminals do is incremental – they get one of your numbers, add a piece of personal information, and away they go, opening a new charge card or withdrawing cash on a fake ID card. The designations of mother’s maiden name and other such information specific to you are often used as part of password recovery settings, so they can take a guess and then reset your password.

I hate to sound paranoid, but it is not paranoia if scammers are actually out to get you!

Cheers anyway,

Jean O’Neil, TRIAD committee member