How a Strong Password is Safeguarding You from Fraud
You have dozens of accounts with logins to remember – from retailers to banks to subscription accounts. You may think that your password is private and secure, so it doesn’t hurt to use the same one for all of your accounts…right? Unfortunately, that’s not true.
Let’s say a hacker steals your bank account information from a service you subscribe to. No big deal, right? You order a new debit card as a precaution, change your password and forget it ever happened.
But now the hacker has your username, email address, password and anything else you provided to the subscription service. If your email address and password are the same for another one of your accounts, they can use the login information to access those accounts – possibly stealing money or opening new accounts in your name without your knowledge.
This is why it’s increasingly important to have strong passwords that vary by account. It can feel overwhelming when you have so many things to remember, but we have some tips to help you avoid being the victim of fraud.
Don’t Recycle or Reuse
You may think you’re being smart by changing your password frequently, but this isn’t true if you’re cycling through the same passwords over and over. Once an account is hacked (sometimes without you even knowing it happened), then that password is at risk for being used to access other accounts.
Choose Something Unfamiliar
Your pets and children are near to your heart, but that doesn’t make their names great passwords. This also includes important dates or numbers in your life. Scammers can easily search online to learn about you through public information and social media to try and guess your password.
Make it Fun
Have fun with your password! Think of a fun phrase or quote, spell the words wrong, and utilize a variety of characters and numbers in place of letters. The idea behind your password can be easy to remember while its execution is more complex.
While it can seem tedious, choosing two-factor authentication adds another layer of security. This may be answering security questions or receiving an email or text that you use to confirm your identity after entering your password. Scammers aren’t likely to know detailed security questions or have access to your phone or email, hopefully preventing them from gaining access to your accounts.
Keep Track on Paper
Don’t store your list of passwords on your computer or smartphone. This puts you at risk for being hacked and voids any efforts you’ve made at creating complex passwords. Instead, write passwords down the old-fashioned way – with a pen and paper! Store them in a lockbox at your house, so you always know exactly where they are.
Taking a few extra steps to safeguard your accounts can save you a lot of time in the future from being a victim of fraud. Take an hour this week to update weak passwords on your accounts and safeguard your identity and financial information.
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