More than nine million Americans have their identities stolen every year, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Identity theft, the fastest growing crime in the country occurs when someone uses your personal identity information, like your name, social security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Among the personal identities passwords serve as the first form of security against cyber criminals who want access to your email accounts and pull sensitive information like social security number, credit card numbers, bank account information, driver's license/ passport numbers, birth date, myID.com website reported.
The most important factor for protecting online accounts is to create a password that is uncrackable.
Here are some tips to protect your passwords:
1. Hackers have password-cracking tools that predicts the commonly used words, so avoid using basic words that you can find in a dictionary, or a simple number following the word.
2. Passwords that include your name or username, birthday can be guessed by anybody who knows you so avoid using your personal information.
3. The size of the password matters a lot. Choose passwords that are at least 8-14 characters long and use a combination of upper case and lower case letters and special characters like symbols or any punctuation marks.
4. Try working a mnemonic phrase into your password. It helps to memorize the numbers or words. For example, There's no place like home would be translated into TNPLH.
5. Keep changing your password frequently. Online financial accounts passwords should be changed in every 1-2 months, while other passwords should be changed every 3-4 months.
6. Use different passwords for different online accounts. Avoid repeating passwords or similar patterns because this increases the vulnerability of your online accounts.
7. Don't share your passwords with any of your family members and friends. Store your passwords in a safe place either in your head or in a locked safe. Do not store your passwords on your computer or mobile device; this is the first place that cyber criminals will search.