In today’s digital world, keeping certain personal information private is essential. Sharing sensitive details about yourself online or with others can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, or other issues if they fall into the wrong hands. There are a few critical pieces of private information that you should be especially cautious about exposing. These include your Social Security number, bank account details, home address, birthdate, passwords, and embarrassing photos, videos, or content. Exposing any of these sensitive items can provide criminals the means to steal your identity, access your finances, find your physical location, or gain leverage over your reputation. This article will examine six specific types of personal information you should never share with others, along with steps you can take to safeguard your privacy better. Knowing what not to expose can help you avoid compromising situations and secure your accounts and identity.
There are specific personal details that you should keep private and not share with others, whether online or in person. Exposing any of the following could lead to identity theft, fraud, or other issues. Here are six things you should not disclose to others and steps you can take to protect this sensitive information better.
1. Your Social Security Number
Your SSN is the key to your identity and financial accounts. Do not share your SSN unless necessary, like for tax or employment paperwork. Be cautious of requests for your SSN over email or phone, as it could be a scam. Only provide it on official forms. Check your credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity.
2. Your Bank Account and Routing Numbers
Keep your bank account and routing numbers secure. These numbers allow access to your financial astatements. Never share them over email or text. Shredding documents with this information is better than just throwing them away. Also, beware of fake check scams that ask you to deposit checks and wire money back.
3. Your Home Address
While you may share your general location, never publicly post your full home address. This allows people to find where you live. Keep this information limited to close friends and family or necessary businesses. Using a PO Box can help keep your physical address more private.
4. Your Birthdate
Your birthdate can be used as part of identity theft and gaining access to accounts. Don’t share this on social media or with strangers. You may share your birth month or day privately with close friends. But be wary of security questions based on your birthdate.
5. Your Passwords
Never share your passwords for any accounts, no matter how minor they may seem. Password sharing can allow social media hacking, financial account theft, and email hacking. Use strong, unique passwords for every account. Password manager apps can help generate and store secure passwords.
6. Compromising Photos and Videos
Anything potentially embarrassing or compromising should be kept offline and private. Once digital images or videos are shared, even with another person, they can quickly spread beyond your control. Don’t give someone leverage over your personal life. Think twice before capturing compromising content of yourself.
Keeping personal information private is vital to protecting your identity and accounts in the digital age. Be highly selective about sharing sensitive details that could allow you to be compromised or impersonated. Taking precautions can help minimize your risks.
Meet Mike, a 28-year-old who wasn’t very cautious about keeping his personal information private online and with others.
Mike used the same simple password for all his online accounts. He also shared his passwords with friends to access shared streaming service accounts. One day, his social media account was hacked, and embarrassing photos were posted.
Mike had his entire home address posted publicly on his social media profiles. This allowed a criminal to find out exactly where Mike lived. The criminal arrived at Mike’s house, claiming to know him, and stole some packages off his front porch before Mike realized what was happening.
For an online forum, Mike once posted his full birthdate and information about the city he was born in. These details were later used to bypass security questions and gain access to his bank account, draining his savings.
Mike often gave his phone number to any website or business that asked for it. As a result, he got bombarded with spam calls and text messages from various scammers who got ahold of his number.
One scam call managed to trick Mike into sharing his Social Security and routing numbers by pretending to be his bank. This led to even more issues with identity theft and unauthorized access to his accounts.
Mike learned how easily sharing personal information can lead to significant problems. After dealing with all these incidents, Mike is now much more cautious about keeping details like his home address, birthdate, passwords, SSN, and banking information fully private until necessary. He also uses unique randomized passwords for each account. While it took some work to regain control, Mike now understands the importance of closely guarding sensitive personal data in today’s digital world.
– Guard your Social Security number closely and do not provide it unless required. Check for any suspicious use of your SSN.
– Keep your banking details confidential; do not share account or routing numbers with anyone. Watch out for check scams asking for funds to be wired.
– Never publicly post your home address online or share it with strangers. Use a PO box if need be to protect your physical location.
– Your birthdate can contribute to identity theft and account access. Share your birth month or day minimally. Avoid security questions based on your birth date.
– Never share your passwords for any accounts, no matter how insignificant the astatementmay seem. Use password managers to enable unique, complex passwords.
– Keep potentially embarrassing or compromising photos, videos, and information offline and private. Once online, it can spread uncontrollably.
Criminals can use certain personal information for identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious purposes. It would be best if you were extraordinarily prudent about sharing details like your Social Security number, bank account numbers, home address, birthdate, passwords, and any potentially embarrassing material. Safeguarding sensitive information helps minimize risks and prevent issues in the interconnected digital world. Think carefully before posting or exposing anything that could compromise your privacy, security, or reputation.