ASK THE D.A.: Protecting your PIN number

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. File photo

Kings County District Attorney's Office

Following a number of inquiries concerning fraud related crimes, this week’s “Ask the DA” offers some suggestions which will help safeguard your bank and cell phone PIN (personal identification number).

  • Never use your birth date as a PIN. According to research, by glancing at your driver’s license or other identification, thieves are able to access money from an ATM in one in 15 stolen wallets.
  • Never use a string of easy numbers such as 1234 or 1111 which rank as the first and fourth most common iPhone PINS.
  • Avoid using your birth year or any year from 1950 onward, which is considered too common.
  • Do not use the last four digits of your social security number.
  • Avoid using your phone number or the birth date of a child or grandchild.  With an online search of public records, phone directories or newspaper announcements, an Internet-savvy thief can easily learn such information.
  • Do not use the street or apartment number of your home, since it is printed on your driver’s license and can be easily found. While the bank assigned PIN number is a safe choice you should also consider these other smart strategies to help keep your money safe:
  • Sequences from a childhood phone number or a long-unused company ID are good choices as long as they are no longer listed anywhere.  Also consider numbers you dial frequently but are hard to trace to you such as local merchants that you regularly frequent.
  • Thieves will have a hard time guessing that your favorite holiday is the Fourth of July 0704. Alternatively, consider selecting a PIN based on a momentous event in your life.
  • If possible, create a PIN that is longer than the standard four digits.  The more digits the harder it is to crack.
  • Once you have created a good PIN be sure to never carry a reminder in your wallet or purse.  Finally, when using an ATM shield your PIN entry from prying eyes.  

To have your questions answered in a future column send your inquiries to my email address

December 20, 2012 - 10:38am



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