How to Have a More Secure Password

By FCFCU | Contributed

It’s estimated by the U.S. Treasury that more than 10 million people will have their identities stolen online this year. Most of these thefts will happen because consumers have done very little to protect themselves.

Passwords are keys to your critical data. That’s why passwords are so important. Rich Boyajian, security expert for Fresno County Federal Credit Union, suggests these simple methods to reduce your risk of identity theft:

Don’t post it in plain sight: Many people post their password on their monitor with a sticky note or save it in their computer’s documents folder – very bad ideas. If you must write down your passwords, make sure you hide them where no one can find them.

Never give your password to anyone. Don’t give it to friends or business associates. A friend can –even accidentally – pass your password along to others.

Don’t use the same password for more than one app. Many people settle on a password and use it across multiple platforms – that increases the odds that it will be compromised.

Make the password at least 8 characters long. Longer passwords are harder for thieves to crack.

Create passwords that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess. Develop a simple phrase like “I started 7th grade at Lincoln Middle School in 1984” and use the initial of each word like this: “Is7gaLMSi#1984.”

Include numbers, capital letters and symbols. Consider using a $ instead of an S or a 1 instead of an L, or including an & or %. Mf$J1ravng (short for “My friend Sam Jones is really a very nice guy) is an example of an excellent password.

Don’t use dictionary words. If it’s in the dictionary, there is a chance someone will guess it. There’s software that can guess words to eventually find your password.

Don’t fall for “phishing” attacks. Be very careful before clicking on a link (even if it appears to be from a legitimate site) asking you to log in, change your password or provide any other personal information.

Use a “password” or fingerprints for your phone too. Most phones can be locked so that the only way to use them is your finger or to type in a code, typically a string of numbers or maybe a pattern you draw on the screen.

Be safer. Move your money to Fresno County Federal Credit Union. Members have easy access to a full range of services, including expert financial guidance, mobile banking, and online bill pay. Plus, free checking with no strings, savings without monthly fees, low rate auto loans and a low rate VISA Platinum Rewards card.

Visit Fresno County Federal Credit Union at or call (559) 252-5000 for more tips and tools.