According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It affects everyone. 

Now, more than ever, it’s important to use strong passwords for each of your online accounts.  Here are FIVE tips to help make your passwords safe and secure and protect your personal information from cybercriminals.

1.  Don’t be social. Be careful what you share online and on social media. The more information you reveal, the easier it is for someone to get their hands on it.  Use good judgement when sharing any of your personal information online, or over the phone with someone you don’t know.

2.  Avoid re-using passwords. Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts. Create strong and unique passwords for each. “Password1234” is easy to remember, but it’s also low hanging fruit for cybercriminals. Make your passwords long and even go so far as to use a nonsense phrase. Don’t include your name, birthday, or references to other personal details. Hackers routinely troll social media platforms for clues to passwords like those.

3.  Use a password manager. Password managers store your login information for all the websites you use and help you log into them automatically. They encrypt your password database with a master password – the master password is the only one you have to remember.

4.  Use two-factor authentication where available. With two-factor authentication, you'll need to both provide a password and prove your identity some other way to gain access to your account.

5.  Use numbers, symbols, upper case and lower case letters. Randomly mix up symbols and numbers with letters. If your password is a phrase, consider capitalizing the first letter of each new word.