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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

When Resolving to Be a Better You for the New Year, Start Off by Improving Your Passwords

Once the clock has struck midnight on New Year's Eve, you should resolve to make some big changes that will help make your life a little less predictable. If you're too easy to read, you may be making yourself susceptible to identity theft, especially if you aren't creative when it comes to passwords. The first step you should take in making the next year better than the last is to start fresh with new passwords for all of your online accounts.

Mix it up and never use the same password twice
Whether you pay your credit card over the Web, conduct online banking or shop on the Internet, you probably have a whole bevy of accounts that require you to use a password. It may be convenient to use the same password for all of your transactions online, but you're also making it easier for an identity thief to gain access to your funds. Just think, if a thief were to figure out one of your passwords, there’s a risk that your entire online identity could be compromised, exposing both your personal information and granting a thief access to your money and credit.

Don't make your passwords easy to figure out
You should use a different password for every account that you have online and avoid things that are obvious even to you. It may be confusing juggling several different passwords, but in the long run you'll be much more secure. Avoid using any birthdays, nicknames, phone numbers or other information that you already share with others on a regular basis when deciding on a password.

Skimping on characters will only make figuring out the password easier for thieves
Make sure that your passwords are lengthy as well, which will be easy given the fact that most accounts require more than eight characters for a password to be approved. Assuming that the website allows you to do so, you should incorporate an even mix of letters, numbers and symbols into the password. Take it a step further by alternating between uppercase and lowercase letters as an added security measure.

A credit monitor will alert you when there is strange activity going on in your name, giving you the opportunity to take care of any issues before they get out of hand.

Because keeping track of your finances and passwords can be so confusing, you may want to use a secure password protector, such as ID Vault®, to help you secure your information and reduce the risk of identity thieves gaining access to it. Additionally, a credit monitoring service can help alert you to certain changes happening in your name, including those which could indicate that fraudulent activity is taking place. When you know what’s going on with your credit, you can take care of any issues before they get out of hand.