BOSTON (CBS) – This is National Consumers Protection week. This is a national campaign to help consumers make better-informed decisions and avoid being scammed.
Let’s talk about the passwords to your various accounts. You can’t shop on Amazon, check the morning newspaper or you phone bill online without a password. Some folks use the same password for all of their accounts. Not prudent the experts tell us.
A good password should be eight or more characters long, not be your user name, real name or company name, and, in fact, not contain a complete word at all.
Each password should be significantly different and contain at least one each of the following: an upper-case letter, a lower-case letter, a number and a symbol such as $.
Consider using the first letter of each word of a favorite saying or poem; How do I love thee, let me count the ways. HDILTLMCTW. Add a couple of numbers to those letters, not your birth date and you are good to go.
I would strongly suggest a different password for each account you have and make a list of your passwords. Update it. Save it. Consider changing your important passwords, especially where money is involved every 6 months or so. Also there are password manager sites to help you manage your passwords and keep track of them. PC magazine rates them for us.
Keeper Security, a pass word manager, put together a list of the most popular passwords for 2016. How did they get them you ask? They used external, public data sources and scoured 10 million passwords from data breaches that happened in 2016.
50% of them had these 25 passwords. They are easy to remember, but a smart hacker with unscrambling software can figure out the passwords in seconds. If you are currently using any of them consider changing them.
Top 25 most common passwords
One more thing: Report Scams
If you think you may have been scammed: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Visit ftc.gov/idtheft, where you’ll find out how to minimize your risk of identity theft.
Report scams to the State Attorney General.
If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country through the postal mail, take it to your local postmaster.
You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.
Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.