Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) refers to any data that can be used to identify a specific individual. Examples of PII can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Full name
  2. Social security number
  3. Address
  4. Email address
  5. Phone numbers
  6. Driver’s license number
  7. Passport number
  8. Date and place of birth
  9. Credit card numbers
  10. Biometric data, like fingerprints or voiceprints
  11. Medical, educational, financial, and employment information

In the context of money services and financial industries, PII can also include account numbers, transaction details, tax IDs, and other financial data unique to the individual.

PII is of crucial importance and sensitive for several reasons:

  1. Privacy: It’s a fundamental right of individuals to have their personal information kept private. Misuse or unauthorized access to PII can lead to invasion of privacy, which is unethical and typically illegal.
  2. Identity Theft: PII can be used by criminals to steal an individual’s identity. With enough PII, a criminal can open new accounts, apply for loans, make purchases, or conduct illegal activities in the name of the victim.
  3. Financial Fraud: In the financial world, PII is often used for verification purposes. If this information is compromised, it could lead to financial fraud, such as unauthorized transactions or account takeovers.
  4. Legal and Compliance: There are numerous laws, regulations, and standards that govern how companies should handle PII. These include the GDPR in Europe, the CCPA in California, and various other data protection laws around the world. Non-compliance can lead to heavy fines and damage to a company’s reputation.

Given the potential harm that can arise from the mishandling of PII, businesses must implement stringent security and privacy controls. This includes encryption of PII, access controls, regular audits, training for staff on handling PII, incident response plans for data breaches, and a privacy-by-design approach when developing new products or services.

This page was last updated on June 3, 2023.

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