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Tip of the Week: How to Choose a Good PIN for Your Credit Card

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Identity theft is commonplace on the Internet, and if you’re not careful with how you approach your browsing, you could potentially leak sensitive information to hackers. Unfortunately, some people are so concerned with protecting their other information, like Social Security numbers or dates of birth, that they forget that their PIN number is just as vulnerable to hacking as ever.

PINs, better known as Personal Identification Numbers, are one of the most basic ways of integrating two-factor authentication into your technology security strategy. However, you can only get so secure by using a PIN. Is there a certain formula that can maximize your PIN’s security? WiseGeek explains the process of choosing a PIN in detail, and discusses ways to improve the security of your own PIN. Basically, you want to avoid basing your PIN off of easily-obtainable information, and opt for one you can easily remember that’s personally significant to you.

Things to Not Base Your PIN Off Of

  • Your Social Security number. You’d be surprised how many people can memorize their Social Security number, but can’t remember a simple four-digit credential. These people often use the last four digits of their Social Security number as their PIN, and don’t even think twice about it. Don’t follow their lead. If someone were to acquire your Social Security number (or even just the last four digits), they might try to use it against you.
  • Your phone number. Once again, your phone number is probably readily available to anyone who wants it. If you were to use the last four digits of your phone number as a PIN, they would have no problem stealing from you.
  • The year you were born. Your date of birth isn’t secret, and if a thief can acquire it, they can crack your bank account just like stealing candy from a newborn. In fact, it’s best to avoid using dates of birth of any of your immediate family, as they can just as easily be found out.
  • Logical strings of numbers. Naturally, you don’t want to use a number that’s simple to guess, like 1234.

Ideas for Easy-to-Remember PINs

  • The year your favorite book or movie was released. You have interests other than your business, so put your brain to use and think about what your favorite book or movie might be. For example, if you’re a Star Wars buff, you might use 1977 as your PIN. However, be wary that hackers will suspect anything within the 1900s as fair game, simply due to the fact that most (if not all) people alive today were born in that timeframe.
  • Use the birthday of a close friend. Hackers might not immediately consider the birthday of your friend when trying to guess your PIN. Therefore, it’s much safer to use theirs than your own.
  • The current time. When you receive your card, or are changing your PIN, look at the clock. This might give you the inspiration you need to figure out the ideal number, so long as the time consists of three or four different numbers.
  • Your favorite holiday. For instance, if you particularly like Halloween, you would make your PIN be 1031, to reflect the month and day. Feel free to get creative with this one. There are a ton of unofficial holidays which you might be able to use, like National Cheeseburger Day (0918). This way, you’ll remember both your PIN and the glory that is National Cheeseburger Day.

By keeping these basic guidelines in mind, you’ll be better equipped when choosing a PIN number. If you have somehow misplaced your card or gotten it stolen, you can know that a hacker probably won’t be able to use your card to withdraw funds from your account. For more tips on how to maximize your security plans, give Tektonic a call at (416) 256-9928.

Bonus Tip:

Date: April 10th, 2015, Author: Jorge Rojas

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