It may not seem like much, but having effective passwords can do a lot toward protecting your most personal and private information from identity thieves. Often, passwords are the one thing that stands between your stuff and the people that want to access it illegally, making it almost imperative to create passwords that are difficult to guess from the outside – but simple enough that they can be remembered by the people that are supposed to. In addition to the other types of identity theft protection, many companies have created password managers, that act as databases so that users can enter in their information and never fear forgetting it again. For those that want to do things the old fashioned way, developing better password habits can be useful, especially when keeping the following in mind.
– Stop using common words and phrases as your passwords. Pet’s names, birthdays, significant other’s names, addresses, favorite things – these are all easy to guess by thieves, especially if you have a large social media presence and talk about these things often.
– Rotate passwords as often as you feel comfortable. While it’s easy enough to establish an account and keep the password indefinitely, the longer you keep the information the same, the better the chance for it to be compromised. Many sites require you to change passwords every few months, which can seem like a hassle, but it is truly for your protection. The sooner you get into the habit of changing your passwords on a regular basis, the better protected your information will be.
– Incorporate special characters and numbers when possible. Although thieves know that this is becoming more popular among users, it can still help to make things more difficult to guess. Capital letters, special characters, replacing letters with numbers… these are all viable methods toward increasing password security and decreasing the likelihood of identity theft.
– Phrases make better passwords than single words. Some common ones like “happy birthday” should be avoided, but possible choices include song lyrics, movie quotes, or even passages from favorite books – these will be much more difficult for outsiders to guess, even if they are able to become familiar with your habits and interests.