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Fictitious information in examples in text, images, and code examples

Updated on January 21, 2021

Fictitious examples that include the names of people, places, organizations, or personal information are always potentially sensitive, both legally and from the worldwide perspective.

Follow these guidelines for using fictitious personal names, company names, email addresses, and URLs in examples in text, code, and screen captures.

Fictitious addresses

Use the following fictitious address:

  • 123 Main St.
  • Anytown, MA 12345
For non-U.S. address examples, create an equivalent nonexistent address.

Fictitious company names

Avoid making up company names. Instead, use descriptive words that are based on a characteristic of the company or organization. For example, use a large insurance company or a regional bank. When you need to refer to a company by a proper name, use generic names such as:

  • Bank A
  • Insurance Company 1

Fictitious email addresses

To avoid using real email addresses, use [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

Fictitious IP addresses

To use an IP address in an example, 192.168.x.x (where each x can be replaced by any number 1-254) is always an internal address that is not accessible from the general Internet, as is 10.x.x.x.

Fictitious personal names

Do not use the names of actual persons or animated characters (for example, Disney characters) in examples. If you must use personal names in an example, choose diverse names:

  • Andrea Carter
  • Carlos Jiminez
  • Thinh Nguyen
  • Maria Bartelli

To create fictitious data, you can use a Monte Carlo data set record. For more information, see Creating a Monte Carlo data set record.

Note: The copyright information that we include with our content contains a disclaimer about fictitious names used in examples.

Fictitious phone numbers

For fictitious telephone numbers in North America, use the prefix 555 and a four-digit number between 0100 and 0199. For example, use 555-0187 or 425-555-0187 to include an area code. These numbers are not assigned to any lines in regional area codes in North America.

For fictitious phone numbers outside North America, determine the local phone system’s policy regarding phone numbers reserved for examples or for use in works of fiction. If no such policy exists, get legal clearance before creating a fictitious phone number.

Fictitious Social Security numbers

Do not make up Social Security numbers. Certain numbers are never allocated in Social Security numbers, so you may use these numbers in examples:

  • Numbers with all zeros in any digit group (000-##-####, ###-00-####, ###-##-0000)
  • Numbers with 666 or 900-999 in the first digit group (666-##-####, 900-##-####, 901-##-####)

Fictitious URLs

Use these URLs:,, or, which are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for use in examples in documentation.

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