Tip of the Week: How to Pick a Secure PIN

April 15, 2015

b2ap3_thumbnail_pin_tips_400.jpgHow much thought have you put into selecting your debit card PIN? If you’ve not put any thought into your PIN, then it’s likely the case that you’ve picked a number that’s easy to remember or even one that’s associated with something personal. Fact: Taking time to pick random and hard-to-remember numbers greatly improves PIN security.

Your Personal Identification Numbers are hugely important when it comes to keeping hackers out of your bank account. Essentially, a thief will need your PIN in addition to your card, which makes stealing your money twice as hard. However, a common PIN number is no match for an observant and logical hacker. To help you pick out a strong PIN, be sure to avoid these common PIN-falls.

Do Not Pick a PIN Based Off of These Easy-to-Figure-Out Numbers

  • Your Social Security Number: You might use the last four digits of your SSN for a host of other accounts, which makes it an easy choice to use as your PIN. Hackers know this, and Social Security Numbers are easy to come by for some hackers–especially if your SSN card is in your wallet… behind your debit card.
  • Your Phone Number: An even worse idea is to base your PIN off of your phone number. This is public information and can often be found with a simple Google search. You might as well not even have a PIN if you go this route.
  • A Significant Year of Your Life: Most PINs are four digits, so too is every year that you’ve been alive. Don’t make a PIN number based off of a year, especially a significant year of your life, like when you were born, graduated high school, or got married.
  • 1234: This and other logical sequences of numbers are the most commonly chosen PINs. Hackers are very much aware of this.

Try These Easy-to-Remember-Yet-Still-Secure PINs

  • A More Obscure Date in History: Instead of going with a date that you lived through, reach deeper into the annals of history, or even look to the future for a date that’s both easy to remember and secure. When was your city incorporated? What’s your best guess for the apocalypse? A hacker won’t be able to easily guess these oddball years.
  • The Current Time: Quick, what time is it right now? There’s a four digit number for you to use right there in front of you, and any PIN associated with time is more secure than the examples listed above.
  • The Month/Date of Your Favorite Holiday: While going with your favorite year is ill advised, going with the Month/Date number of your favorite holiday can be a more secure move. For example, the World Backup Day PIN would be 0331.
  • Just Mash Some Numbers on Your Keyboard: Random PINs are the most secure. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to toss out the idea of picking an easy-to-remember number and instead, just biting the bullet and memorizing some randomly-selected numbers.

By making it difficult for a hacker to successfully guess your PIN, you will save yourself a lot of hurt and loss in the event that your card is ever stolen. How did you select your PIN? Let us know in the comments (without giving too much away).

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