What is PII? – Well, it is Personally Identifiable Information that you give out all the time whether you know it or not. In simple terms, it’s data to confirm an individuals’ identity.
Sometimes you give it away by choice and sometimes you don’t even know you’ve shared it.
- When your favorite coffee shop asks for your phone number so you can get those reward points for a free pastry. That is PII.
- When AirBNB asks for your name, address, phone number and email address, that is PII.
- When your Doctor’s office asks for all of that same information and some more, that is ALL PII.
Most times you can simply say,
thank you but I prefer not to give you that information.
Remember when you went to the doctor’s or dentist’s office, and they asked for your social security number? Scary! Are you legally obligated to give that information? NOPE! There is no law that says you must give your PII away. So, what do you look for when you sign into the doctor’s office or sign up for that rewards card get your Pumpkin Spiced Latte?
- Look at the fine print of how the organization is going to use that information.
- Ask how will they secure it?
- Understand if they have the right to resell or release that information to third parties?
If they don’t know, simply say, “No thank you. I don’t provide that kind of information.” It is totally OK to do so, after all it is YOUR INFORMATION.
Keep it safe like you would your credit card, cold hard cash or the deed to your house. It’s up to you to maintain your privacy and your PII, so guard it well!