Submitted by The Merriam Insurance Agency
When we think about PII (personally identifiable information) that is protected by NYS law, we rightly think of drivers’ licenses, payment card or banking information, and Social Security Numbers. These are the specific pieces of protected information that are most likely to be in our files. But there is other information on our customers that should also be protected – addresses of residences, other contact information, family information and so on. Here’s why:
Current estimates are that 47% of Americans have had some part of their private information exposed through hacking. Once that information gets out, it is essentially available for purchase on the dark web in perpetuity. Future hacks can build out the “profile” that criminals have on a specific person. Once enough information is added – date of birth, first addresses, mother’s maiden name, old passwords, cyber criminals have more data points to use in their hacking endeavors.
Even if the information obtained from a hack of one of our company networks didn’t have PII, it might contain some new data points on the affected consumers that begin to make hacks into their identities and finances possible. The community trusts NYSLTA members to deliver correct real estate transactions every day. These same consumers, and the court of public opinion they generate, are more implicitly, but no less distinctly, requiring us to safeguard every aspect of their personal information. Here is to another year of continued vigilance!