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Passwords: The Stronger the Better

So how do you put together a strong password that’s easy to remember? These quick tips will help you build effective passwords to beat back crooks and prevent potential fraud.

ADD MORE CHARACTERS

You’ve probably noticed that many of your online profiles (email, eBanking, etc.) already require a minimum of eight characters. That’s for your protection. In fact, you may want to consider choosing passwords that are more than eight characters long. Strong passwords are a must, especially for your password account manager. Never use passwords with less than six characters.

MIX IT UP

Use a random string of three or four words with a mixture of upper and lowercase letters. Adding numbers and/or special characters at the end will increase security (for example, $howMetheMoney$!).

IT’S OK TO MISSPELL

Use a misspelled phrase like “one tough mom” (1TuffM0m). Use phrases like “I love to fly” substituting numbers for vowels (il0vt0flY). Better yet, substitute a letter for a symbol—replace the letter L with the number sign # and you get i#0vt0f#Y. Now you’ve got a strong password! Keep in mind that one-word passwords with certain letters replaced with numbers, such as “passw0rd” are extremely easy for hackers to decipher and should be avoided.

DON’T USE EASILY- IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

Avoid using your username, real name, spouse’s name, maiden name, pet’s name, phone number, birth date, street name, license plate, social security number or any other easily-identifiable information in your password.

HAVE MULTIPLE PASSWORDS.

Never use the same password for across a number of important accounts. If one of your accounts gets hacked, they would easily have access to multiple accounts. For general website passwords, you may want to incorporate the first few letters of the website name into your password so that every password is different and if one is stolen, you don’t have to change them all (ebay.com: eBa1tuffm0m). With this method, not only do you have different passwords for every website, you also have passwords that are easy to remember.

Today’s Tip: If you find that one of your accounts has been hacked, the most important thing to do is immediately change the password. Then you can decide whether or not to close the account.

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