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Personal Information

Criminals will attempt to exploit any type of personally identifiable information they can find out about you.  Protecting your personal information is the foundation of your personal data security.  This page will give you information you can use to protect your personal information.

What is Personally Identifiable Information?

The following lists contain types of information about yourself that you should take steps to protect.

Moderately Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information

  • Name

  • Home Address

  • Telephone Numbers

  • Date of Birth

  • Email Addresses

  • Previously used names (including maiden names, previous married names, and mother's maiden name)

Highly Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information

  • Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number

  • Bank or checking account number

  • Credit card number (with or without expiration date and/or the card verification value)

  • Debit card number

  • Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords

  • Passport number

  • Driver's license number or state ID card number

  • Insurance policy number

  • Health information

  • Other confidential financial information such as salary, tax forms, account balances, and information about other financial accounts, such as a mortgage, retirement, or investment account

How to Protect Your Personal Information

Follow these steps to protect your personal information from being used fraudulently.

  • Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work.

  • Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you - unless you are going to use your card at the doctor’s office.

  • Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents when you do not need them any longer.

  • Take outgoing mail to the post office or to a post office collection box. Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you will not be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail.

  • When you order new checks, do not have them mailed to your home, unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.

  • Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you have initiated the contact or know who you are dealing with.

  • Before you dispose of a computer or any other electronic data storage device, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire device.

  • Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the internet. A “lock” icon on the status bar of your internet browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.

  • Use strong passwords with your laptop, credit, bank, and other accounts.  Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.  Be creative. Think of a special phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. Substitute numbers for some words or letters. For example, “I want to see the Pacific Ocean” could become 1W2CtPo.

  • Do not over share on social networking sites.  If you post too much information about yourself, an identity thief can find information about your life, use it to answer ‘challenge’ questions on your accounts, and get access to your money and personal information. Consider limiting access to your networking page to a small group of people. Never post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or account numbers in publicly accessible sites.

  • Keep a close hold on your Social Security number and ask questions before deciding to share it. Ask if you can use a different kind of identification.

  • Read privacy policies.  They can be long and complex, but they tell you how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects, how it uses the information, and whether it provides information to third parties. If you do not see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.


This site is for educational purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice.  For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.  Credits: Federal Trade Commission; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security; National Cyber Security Alliance.



American Bank of St. Paul is now Deerwood Bank as successor by merger with American Bank of St. Paul.

Deposits serviced at offices of the former American Bank of St. Paul and Deerwood Bank are NOT separately insured by the FDIC.

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