Most of us in our instant gratification isn’t enough society assume that the potential fallout from transmitting sensitive information via text, fax or email is outweighed by the convenience of getting something where it needs to be fast. After all, becoming the victim of an identity-related crime isn’t the end of the world, right?
Think of it as the secret password to access everything about your life. That’s why you should be hyper-cautious about who you give it out to—and never ever put it in a casual email or text.
As a rule of thumb, the only times your SSN is actually required is when you’re filing taxes, starting a new job, applying for a driver’s license or government benefits. And even then, pen to paper (or giving it out verbally over the phone) is always a better plan.
A Copy Of Your Driver’s License
So, you’re starting a new job and your employer needs you to scan and send a handful of new employee forms back ASAP. Drop the paperwork off in person or send it certified via FedEx—to reduce your security risk. (You’d be amazed how much hackers can do with your ID number and mailing address.)
Same deal as the driver’s license. Skirting a few security questions—like the ones posed by institutions that keep your financial details on file is a cinch for seasoned identity stealers with info like your full name and date of birth.
Your Credit Card Number
Sure, it’s tempting to text this info to your husband, but beware: Malware—like the kind found in that suspicious email attachment from an unknown sender you accidentally clicked on—is designed to infiltrate your inbox and capture your personal info. (Another major case for picking up the phone.)
And Account Passwords
OK, this feels like a no-brainer, but do not (we repeat, do not) send important passwords—like the ones to your bank or even your Amazon Prime account via email or text. If your phone goes missing or someone gains access to your email account, you’re vulnerable. It’s as simple as that.