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Protecting Your Personal Information: What Data Should You Protect?

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If you haven't already been touched by identity theft in some form, or if you don't know someone that has, you're lucky. The truth is, nearly 10 million identity thefts happen in the US alone each year. That means that identity theft isn't one of those "if it happens" crimes. It's a "when it happens" crime.

Very often you hear that you should protect your personal information fiercely, and you know that means you should protect your Social Security Number and your credit information, but is that the only information that's at risk? How sensitive are things like your date of birth and your mother's maiden name? The list below shows you what's the most sought after informaiton and how sensitive that information is.

  • Low: Full Name
  • Low: Address
  • Low: Phone Number
  • Med: Date of Birth
  • Med: Place of Birth
  • Med: Mother's Maiden Name
  • High: Social Security Number
  • High: Bank Account Number
  • High: Credit Card Number
  • High: Pin Numbers
  • High: Passwords

This is just a sampling of the information that identity theives are likely to be after, however, it gives you a general idea of how sensitive your information is. The more specific to you information is, the more thieves want to get hold of it. For example, dozens of people might share your name, but your mother's maiden name, combined with yours will be a much rarer combination.

Other information that's likely to be of interest to identity thieves includes:

  • Usernames
  • Place of Employment
  • Employment History or Residential History
  • Medical Records
  • Anniversary Dates
  • Children's Names and Dates of Birth

Every piece of information that an identity thief can get their hands on is another inch they can see into your life. Like a puzzle, each piece makes the picture clearer, and puts you more at risk. So, guard your personal information as if you life depended on it...it just might.

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