Tell the truth. How many computer passwords do you have? Admit it: You use the same one over and over again, right?
Most of us tend to revert to the same password for a lot of our accounts, but computer experts will tell you that a good rule of thumb is to change all of your online passwords periodically -- at least once a year.
And not all passwords are created equal, of course. A good rule of thumb is that your password should be easy to remember, but hard to guess. That means you shouldn't use your wife or husband's name or your birthday as a password. That information is too easy for a crook to find. You also want to combine letters and numbers, and alternate upper and lower case letters, since so many passwords are case-sensitive these days.
One idea that works for some: Think of a simple phrase that means something to you. Maybe it's "a stitch in time saves nine." Turn it into an acronym…in this case, SITSN. Then, add on some numbers that have meaning to you -- again, not your birthday.
It doesn't matter if you can pronounce your password. You just need to be able to remember it. And don't make the mistake of writing a list of all of your passwords and leaving it in your computer desk drawer or in your purse or wallet. It's not a bad idea to keep a running list, but lock that list up in a safe place.
One last thing…don't panic if you can't remember your password. It may take a few minutes, but most are retrievable through either a series of security questions, or by calling a customer service number.
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