What is PII ? How to Protect your PII – DHS Tools

Protecting your personal information, or that of your staff and clients can seem like a second job.

Just the term “Phishing” which was email based, has evolved to multiple types of attempts to fool you. For example, Vishing (voice), Smishing (text) and Pharming (code that redirects you to malicious websites) are all ways to trick you.

The Department of Homeland Security website offers a free tool that was designed initially for DHS staff, but is full of best practices, definitions and resource links.

DHS Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive PII

The term PII is used repeatedly, but what does it mean to you.  Below is a simple resource, as defined by DHS.


What is PII?

PII includes your name and your work email, address, and phone.

What is Sensitive PII?


 Social Security numbers
 Driver’s license or state ID numbers
 Passport numbers
 Alien Registration numbers
 Financial account numbers
 Biometric identifiers


 Citizenship or immigration status
 Medical information
 Ethnic or religious affiliation
 Personal email, address, and
 Account passwords
 Last 4 digits of the SSN
 Date of birth
 Criminal History
 Mother’s maiden name

In addition to taking steps to safeguard your PII, individuals and business can purchase resources, and / or insurance products that are designed to respond.   Learn more about Cyber Insurance here

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