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(PII) Personally Identifiable Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) includes things that can identify you directly, such as your social security number, to things that may help identify you indirectly, such as your phone number or birthday. If that information falls into the wrong hands, you could be tracked without your knowledge or even have your identity stolen. Created by Sal Khan.

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Video transcript

- Hi everyone. Sal Khan here from Khan academy. My Social Security Number is 857, - 32 - 5567. No, it's not. I wouldn't tell you my Social Security Number like that. And that's because it is personally identifiable information, or PII. And there's a reason why you want to keep that to yourself, or at least limit who has access to PII. Because if someone has access, they can expose your privacy, tell the world where you live, they could track you and they could tell the world what you've been up to, maybe when you should be working what websites you're visiting, or, even worse, potentially, they could steal your identity, take money out of your bank account, take a credit card in your name, do some other form of identity theft that could be embarrassing, or super costly. So, if you have some type of a service, either online or otherwise, that's asking for something like your Social Security Number, or your birthday, which might be a little bit more indirect, or your email address, or your phone number, you might ask why. Sometimes there's a legitimate reason why they need to know these things but many times, I'd argue even most of the time, there might not be a legitimate reason. And so you need to ask yourself, well what are they going to do with it? And if you don't feel comfortable giving that information, ask yourself, do you really need that service? So think seriously about your PII. Unfortunately, bad actors on the Internet are coming up with new ways of leveraging both direct PII, personally identifiable information like Social Security Numbers, even biometrics, even your name, and indirect measures, or indirect pieces of PII, like your birthday, or your address, or your email address, or your phone number, that can be put together to do shady things with your identity. So be very careful.