Personal identification numbers (PINs) are security features that protect your accounts and personal information. PINs are a series of numbers. You use PINs for number pad equipment such as an ATM keypad or your phone keypad.
Generally, PINs are at least four digits long. However, the longer the PIN, the harder it is for thieves to figure them out. It’s best to use the longest PIN available.
It’s important to remember you should never write your PIN on the back of debit or credit card. If someone finds your card, it makes it far too easy for them to drain your account. Also, do not put a PIN anywhere near the item it’s supposed to protect.
Memorizing all your passwords and PINs is not an easy task. Security experts suggest using different PINs and passwords for different accounts because if a thief finds one PIN they will test all your cards with that same PIN.
The best way is to pick three or four PINs and memorize them. Here are some tips to help you remember and create a secure PIN.
The Date Method One way is to create a PIN from significant dates in your life. For example, if your birthday is March 28, 1967, you might use 0328 (Third month and 28th day), or maybe 0367 (month and year). Another idea is to use a combination of your three-digit home or work address and shoe size (5176)
The Cell Phone Friend Method Your mobile phone has hundreds of contacts. So to remember your PIN, just add another fake contact, and hide your PIN within that contact’s phone number. For example, if your PIN is 1212, you’d add the phone number 505-123-1212.
The main drawback to this method is if you lose your phone or experience a dead battery.
The Addition Method Another way to randomize your PIN number is to add numbers to an easily remembered number. For example, add a 9 to your three-digit home address (5179 or 9517).
The Longer the Better Again, longer PINs are more secure than shorter ones because the number of possible variations is greater. While iPhones default to a four-digit PIN, you can switch to a customized PIN, which doesn’t show a specific number of spaces. Your PIN could be four digits or it could be eight, with the thief having no way of knowing.
Remember, the tougher it is to figure out your PIN, the more likely they will move onto an easier target.