One of the best ways to outsmart fraudsters is to make sure they never gain access to your personal information. If you do anything online, chances are you use passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers) to access your accounts with your favourite businesses. By creating strong passwords and PINs, you will make life a lot more difficult for any scam artists who are trying to steal your personal information.
Here are some tips for creating the best passwords and PINs possible, and for keeping them safe once you’ve made them:
- Make sure you use a unique password for each account and device. Using the same password for everything can result in a cyber-criminal gaining access to ALL of your online accounts rather than just one. If you have difficulty remembering multiple passwords, try using a password manager, which is an app that securely stores your passwords.
- Be sure to never share your passwords.
- Try creating passwords that are at least 8 characters and contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and other characters. Avoid using an exclamation mark “!” at the end of passwords – that is the most common symbol used in passwords by far!
- Always make sure you log out of websites completely, rather than just closing the window. This is especially important if you are on a computer that is not your own.
- Avoid using the names of pets and family members in your passwords. Scammers know that people commonly use these words as passwords, because they are easy to remember. But they are also easy to figure out, especially if you’ve ever posted anything about your family or pets on social media.
- Consider using a passphrase instead of a password. A passphrase is a mix of random words that mean something only to you. The more unique the combination of words, the more unlikely it would be that anyone could guess it.
- Another password trick is to use the first letters of words in a sentence. For example, if the sentence is “the dog barked at the cat”, then the letters would be “tdbatc”. Randomly capitalize some of the letters – “TdBaTc”, then add some numbers and symbols – “?TdBaTc&3972#” and you have a very difficult password to guess!
Think about the passwords you are using online. Are they as secure as they should be? If you are worried that they might be too easy for a fraudster to figure out, take the time to re-evaluate and come up with some new ones. Your passwords are an important part of protecting yourself, your identity and your money from cyber criminals. Make sure yours are secure. Keep up to date with the latest Fraud Alerts on our website and learn how to spot a scam!