Trinity Elder Law - May 2020

Don’t Let Scammers Hack Into Your Life Peace of Mind Post I n 2020, our personal information is more vital, and more For certain websites, like the accounts above, using a secure password website like Keeper or TRICKS AND TIPS FOR CREATIVE PASSWORDS MAY 2020

accessible, than ever. Most of us know that we need to protect our Social Security number and banking information, but have you thought about how using your family or pet name in a password might compromise your security online? It can take months or years to recover from someone gaining access to your personal information in online accounts, so it’s important to assess and strengthen your online security. May 7 is World Password Day, so this is a great time to dive into some creative password tips and tricks! To create a strong password, I recommend using many special characters along with various numbers and capital letters. A lot of people use a capital letter at the beginning of their passwords, but I recommend putting them at random. Of course, such a unique password may feel difficult to remember. I forget my passwords all the time. Because we use them for everything, it can be difficult for me to keep track of all of them. Using a group of words or phrases that are unique to me, and related to the account the password is being used for, helps me to remember my passwords. For instance, if I’m creating an account on websites like SmartPak and State Line Tack, which provide horse tack and supplies, then I will use a password related to an experience that only I would know from my years of horseback riding. If I’m really lost when it comes time to fill in a password, then I think back on the group of words or phrases I would have used related to that account, and this helps me to remember. It usually only takes a few minutes for this trick to work! “Using a group of words or phrases that are unique to me, and related to the account the password is being used for, helps me to remember my passwords.”

LastPass can be an easy way to keep track of login

information. But for sensitive accounts, such as my banking and investment accounts, I don’t rely on secure password websites or

my own memory. To ensure the passwords for these accounts are properly protected, I keep them written down and locked away in a safe. While I could safely keep these important passwords on a secure password website, writing them down and storing them in a lockbox gives me the full peace of mind that hackers can’t access them. Protecting your passwords is important, but it’s also important to make sure they can’t be easily guessed by scammers and hackers. Be mindful of what you post on social media. If you’re really engaged in social media and openly share a lot of your personal information, then be cautious of using that information as part of a password. For example, if your dog is all over your social media pages, then it’s best to not use its name in your passwords. Hackers and scammers aren’t just trying to steal your passwords, so whenever you’re online, be a cautious clicker. If you get an email from someone you know but don’t recognize the email address it was sent from, then be skeptical. Look at the email address carefully, and if it doesn’t match your friend’s name, then look at the text of the email but don’t click on any links or open any attachments. If you notice anything remotely odd, then reach the person via another channel to ask about the email. And remember, never open any email that claims to be from the IRS, as they only send information via physical mail. Use this month to assess the strength of your passwords and make sure your life online is safe and secure. I hope these tips will help you create strong passwords for all your different online accounts and maybe even to remember them!

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