Identity Theft Proper Secure Passwords

Choose at least 8 characters, including at least three of the following four character types:

  • Uppercase letters
  • Lowercase letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols found on your keyboard, such as ! * – () : | / ? …including blank spaces

Stay away from names or nicknames of people, pets, or places, or personal information that can be easily found out, such as your address, birthday, or hobbies. Avoid words found in the dictionary.

Don’t include any of these:

  • Repeated characters, such as AAA or 555;
  • Alphabetic sequences, such as abc or CBA;
  • Numeric sequences, such as 123 or 321;
  • Common keyboard sequences, such as Qwerty or pas.

Your password should be easy for you to remember, but difficult for anyone else to guess.

  • Invent your own secret password, like this: s3cReT pAs5w*rD. Don’t bother with simple substitutions, such as replacing the letter O with the number zero. Get creative with mixing numbers, symbols, and uppercase letters in your own way.
  • Or try a passphrase: a line from a favorite song, poem, or speech; the punchline of a joke; a bumper sticker or sports chant. Take the first letter of each word and keep the punctuation, or pick one or two letters or symbols to represent each word, then mix in punctuation and numbers that are meaningful to you.

Keep Your Password Secure

  • Don’t write your password down or store it on your computer.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Always change your password immediately if you suspect that someone else might have guessed it.