Top Secret Passwords
We know not to leave our doors unlocked or our wallet sitting on the front seat of the car. We’re careful when walking alone at night, and we don’t pick up hitchhikers. So, we know how to protect ourselves from criminal acts.
Or do we? The Javelin Strategy & Research 2016 Identity Fraud Study found that 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2015.
According to the Gallup 2016 Crime Survey, credit card theft now tops the list of American identity fraud crimes. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed stated that they or someone in their household had information stolen from a credit card. More than $15 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers in 2015, according to the Javelin study. The Federal Trade Commission says that Hoosiers made 6,217 complaints of identity theft in 2015.
How do you keep yourself safe? One easy way is to make your passwords safer. The average person has dozens of online accounts, and tends to use the same password over and over again. Or the password is very simple (“123456” is the most common password; the word “password” is the second most common, according to the Better Business Bureau.)
The Better Business Bureau and the National Cyber Security Alliance have some tips to make your passwords safer.
- Make them long and strong. Use a phrase or a jumble of words that only means something to you. Use a mix of numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols.
- Use a unique password for every account. Yes it is convenient to use the same password, but it isn’t safe.
- Change passwords regularly. April is a great time for digital spring cleaning, or celebrate World Password Day on May 5 by updating your passwords.
- Secure passwords. Make sure you keep passwords in a safe place, not on or near your computer, and always password-protect your devices.
As an Indiana Farm Bureau member, you have access to free Identity Fraud Resolution Services, powered by Identity Theft 911. If you become a victim of identity fraud, the program will provide you with access to a fraud specialist who can help with resolution services, document replacement and other proactive services. Log in to itpaystobeamember.org for more information.