Is your PIN (personal identification number) really protective?  Not if you picked it using common practices aimed at making it easy to remember. 

  • Never use your birthdate as a PIN.
  • The 10 PINs that cellphone thieves love:  1234, 0000, 2580 (a top-to-bottom key pad sequence), 1111, 5555, 5683 (which spells 'love'), 0522 (bottom-to-top keypad), 2222, 1212, 1998.
  • Never use your birth year.
  • Never use the last 4 digits of your SS#.
  • Not your phone number, birthdate of a child, or grandchild.
  • Never the street number of your home.

So,  what should you use??

  • The one assigned by your bank is typically pretty secure.
  • Sequences from a childhood phone number or an unused company ID are good.
  • Try a frequently used partial phone number, like a pizza shop you use. 
  • The date of one of your momentous events in your childhood history, favorite holiday (1031) halloween.
  • You could base it on a 'word' from a common phrase you use, 9224 "you are an idiot".
  • 4 digit pins are standard, but use more if you can. 

Once you choose a good PIN, never carry a reminder in your wallet.  At the ATM, cover your hand when typing to shield your PIN from prying eyes or scammer-installed hidden cameras. 

Sid Kirchheimer,  Scam Proof your Life, published by AARP books.