Are You Careful With Your PIN? Most People Aren’t
This is a no-brainer, right? Well, you would think so since the PIN is a direct path to your hard earned cash but the numbers are shocking. Americans are having their finances drained because of being careless with their PIN number. Mind you, this is not getting your information stolen from a hacker; this is YOU causing the data breach.
“But that’s impossible,” you say. “I’m very careful with my PIN!” Are you? Are you sure? According to The Guardian, here are the most common mistakes, and why thieves can sometimes guess your PIN number even though there are 10,000 different combinations:
- Using the PIN “1234” – don’t be shocked, a surprising one out of ten people uses this string.
- The next most popular is “1111” and then “0000” (the top three account for 18.6% of usage)
- Thieves can use just 61 combinations and get the correct PIN 33% of the time.
- Keyboard patterns are used by thieves to guess PINs.
- Birthdays and Anniversaries are favorites.
- Last four digits of the person’s phone number or SSN.
- House numbers.
You may wonder why it would be an issue using a birthday for your pin. How is the thief going to know your birthday? Because they stole your wallet with your ID and it contains your birthday!
Your Wallet Doesn’t Need To Be Stolen To Be Exploited
But thieves don’t need to steal your wallet or purse to get the information they need, some just call you on the phone, and you willingly give it to them. Without asking a single question. You can watch the video below for a shocking example of this occurring.
Here is our advice. Do not trust anyone. Give no information over the phone unless you initiated the call to a number that you KNOW is your bank. Ask questions. If the request comes in for your spouse or a family member, do NOT give any information over the phone. Get their information and state a message will be delivered. Thieves have become VERY good and getting people just like you to disclose information they should not reveal. Your best defense is always just to say “No” and hang up the phone and then contact your bank or family member directly.
You worked hard for your money, and you should work hard to keep it safe. This includes getting phone calls regarding settlement advances, taxes, liens, insurance, etc.
Laura Bushnell is Editor in Chief for National Review Brand Foundation of Consumer Updates and based in Boston. Previously, she held senior VP level positions in corporate finance and consumer financial planning firms.