Protect Your PIN Like Your SSN

Protect Your PIN Like Your SSN

It has always been important to protect your Social Security Number (SSN). It has become even more important with the increase in identity theft. You should keep your Social Security Card in a safe place, away from unsuspecting eyes, unless you need to have it for a specific purpose such as employment, account opening, or identity verification.  It may seem obvious that your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is private and should be protected with the same level of caution as your SSN. When you open a checking account and choose a PIN, that number gives you access to the funds in your checking account. It allows you to make purchases and also allows you to withdraw all of the money in your account or your daily limit (usually between $500 and $1,000), whichever is less. Your PIN should not be shared, but my experience has shown me that is not the case. Close friends, especially younger people known as “Ride or Dies” have created a bond and a level of trust they think will last forever. They cannot see themselves without this person or these friends. They think it is nothing to share their debit card with their friends and even give them the PIN to withdraw cash. That level of trust seems heartwarming in such a cynical world that we live in.

I have witnessed something that these unsuspecting friends usually are not aware of yet. Change is constant. Change is going to happen. Not only do fashion trends change along with hair styles and the weather. But friendships can change over time. Usually they change a lot quicker when you are younger. I am not picking on young people and implying that they do not know how to maintain friendships. I just have a little more experience and have observed some things over the years. I have experienced friends getting angry at each other and falling out of friendship. Then the friend who does not own the checking account but has the debit card and the PIN decides to get back at the other friend and withdraws a substantial amount of money from the checking account. Substantial can be $20 or $1,000 depending on the balance in the account and what the money is needed for. Anger is not the only reason for the behavior. Sometimes the account holder does not know the other friend as well as they thought and it turned out that the other friend was dishonest and/or a thief. When the account holder comes into the bank to claim that the friend took the money without their permission, they are asked if the friend had the PIN. Of course they did. Because they had the PIN, there is nothing the bank can do about it. It is a tough lesson learned, hopefully not to be repeated. Unfortunately, everyone does not learn their lesson so easily. Trust me; there is no reason to share your PIN with anyone. It is not worth your friendship or the money you will potentially lose. Consider yourself warned if you do not already know this important rule of life. All the best!

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