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Proofpoint, Inc.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) - What are Smart Identifier's and How to Use Them

Situation You need to protect specific sensitive information, such as social security numbers, credit numbers, driver license numbers. Sensitive information is classified using Smart Identifiers, and you want to implement filters with Smart Identifiers to prevent the breach and exposure of sensitive, identifying information.

See below for information on:

  • What Is a Smart Identifier?
  • Creating a filter for Smart Identifier
  • Lists of specific Smart Identifiers
  • Specific Smart Identifier issues

What is a smart identifier?

A smart identifier is a pre-defined regular expression used to locate specific content in an email, such as a Credit Card number or Drivers License Number. 

Proofpoint Essenitals has 6 categories of smart identifiers:

  • Banking Information
  • Financial Information
  • Personal Information
  • United States Driver License
  • Product Identification
  • Tracking Information

Creating a filter for Smart identifier

Follow these steps in creating a general smart Identifier filter.

  1. Navigate to Company Settings > Filters.
  2. Click New Filter.
  3. Enter an appropriate Filter Name.
  4. From the Direction dropdown, select the appropriate option.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Select the desired Scope from the dropdown.
  7. From the If dropdown, select Smart Identifier Scan.
  8. Click Manage.
  9. From the pop-up, select the Smart Identifiers that you wish to scan for. Multiple items may be chosen.
  10. Click Close.
  11. From the Do dropdown, select the desired action.
  12. Click Save.


Best Practice:
Where possible, a dictionary should be used in conjunction with a corresponding smart identifier. EX: SSN Dictionary with SSN smart ID. Also, each filter should be separate, not in one large filter.

Reduce False positives for DLP

A smart identifier is best paired with a dictionary to add the complexity of finding two related items, instead of scanning for one.

Encryption with DLP

Encryption is only available if the scope is set for Outbound.

Smart identifiers

Banking information

  • International Bank Account Number

Financial information

  • ABA Routing Number
  • Credit Card Number
  • CUSIP Identifier Number
  • Custom Credit Card Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Extended Credit Card Identifier
  • Japanese Credit Card Number

Personal Information

  • Norsk Personnummer
  • California Corporation Number
  • California Franchise Tax Board ID
  • Canadian Social Insurance Number
  • Chinese Resident Identity Card
  • Dansk CPR_nummer
  • Date of Birth
  • Espanol Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI)
  • Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN)
  • France National Identification Repertory (INSEE)
  • Health Insurance Claims Numbers (HICN) assigned by CMS
  • Health Insurance Claims Numbers (HICN) assigned by RRB
  • Hong Kong Identity Card
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Islenska kennitala
  • Italian Codice fiscale
  • Japanese Driver License
  • Japanese Residency Registration (jyuuminhyou) ID
  • National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • National Registration Identity Card
  • OHIO State Medicaid Validation
  • Passport Number
  • Phone Number (North America)
  • Polski PESEL
  • Portues Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas (CPF)
  • Portuges Cadastro Nacional de Pessoas Juridicas (CNP)
  • Restrictive Social Security Number
  • Social Security Number
  • Suomi henkilotunnus
  • Svenska personnummer
  • Taiwan Identification Number
  • UK Driver License
  • UK National Insurance Number
  • UK National Patient Identifier

United states Driver license

  • Alabama Driver License
  • Alaska Driver License
  • Arizona Driver License
  • Arkansas Driver License
  • California Driver License
  • Colorado Driver License
  • Connecticut Driver License
  • Delaware Driver License
  • District of Columbia Driver License
  • Florida Driver License
  • Georgia Driver License
  • Hawaii Driver License
  • Idaho Driver License
  • Illinois Driver License
  • Indiana Driver License
  • Iowa Driver License
  • Kansas Driver License
  • Kentucky Driver License
  • Louisiana Driver License
  • Maine Driver License
  • Maryland Driver License
  • Massachusetts Driver License
  • Michigan Driver License
  • Minnesota Driver License
  • Mississippi Driver License
  • Missouri Driver License
  • Montana Driver License
  • Nebraska Driver License
  • Nevada Driver License
  • New Hampshire Driver License
  • New Jersey Driver License
  • New Mexico Driver License
  • New York Driver License
  • North Carolina Driver License
  • North Dakota Driver License
  • Ohio Driver License
  • Oklahoma Driver License
  • Oregon Driver License
  • Pennsylvania Driver License
  • Rhode Island Driver License
  • South Carolina Driver License
  • South Dakota Driver License
  • Tennessee Driver License
  • Texas Driver License
  • Utah Driver License
  • Vermont Driver License
  • Virginia Driver License
  • Washington Driver License
  • West Virginia Driver License
  • Wisconsin Driver License
  • Wyoming Driver License
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Product Identification

  • National Drug code

Tracking Information

  • Fedex Tracking number
  • UPS Tracking Number (United Parcel Service)
  • USPS International Tracking Number (US Postal Service)
  • USPS Tracking Number (US Postal Service

Specific Smart Identifier issues 

Some frequently asked questions we get surround some individual items.


For additional information on the overall DLP, please see Data Loss Prevention (DLP) FAQs