CNBC Make It is posting a new financial task to tackle each day for a month. These are all meant to be simple, time-sensitive activities to take your mind off of the news for a moment and, hopefully, put you on sturdier financial footing. This is day 12 of 30.
If you’ve used the same password for many years, or use the same password for many financial accounts, it’s time to change that, particularly as the federal government sends out one-time coronavirus stimulus checks that scammers would like to get their hands on.
Take a few minutes today to update the passwords on each of your banking and investment accounts. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to create strong passwords that are hard to guess or hack.
- Select at least 12 characters, using a combination of letters, numbers and other symbols
- Use a sentence, rather than a single word
- Create a different password for each financial site
- Do not save passwords to your devices
For extra security, turn on multi-factor identification where you can. If you’re logging into your bank account from a new device, it should send a text or email to you with a security code to ensure that it’s actually you trying to access the account. And always update your software when prompted, because a safety update is typically part of it.
To take things a step further, consider using a password manager, like 1Password or LastPass, which keep track of your different usernames and passwords across devices. This will make it easier to use a different password for each site that requires it, and therefore make your financial accounts more secure.