Protect Your Information

Create a strong password

Weak passwords – those that aren't hard to guess or are common words – can be easily cracked. Strong passwords are VERY important. Here are some tips for creating or changing your password:

  1. Use a different password for sites that contain financial information from sites that you browse casually or that don’t ask for personal information.
  2. Do not use people's names and special dates as passwords. Avoid any combination of characters that friends or acquaintances can easily guess. For example, a password such as "April15" for a TurboTax Online account is not a strong password.
  3. Use syllables or acronyms. Avoid using complete words that appear in any dictionary regardless of the language. One option is to start with the first letters of a familiar phrase. For example, "Mary had a little lamb" becomes Mhall, which could be part of a secure password.
  4. Mix it up! Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation/special characters, such as &^$#.
  5. Keep it to yourself. Do not share your personal password with others. You never know what the future will bring in relationships or coworkers, so do not give your password out – to anyone.
  6. Keep your passwords safe. There are programs available where you can securely store your passwords. Don’t write them down in a place where others can find them.

Choose a good user name

Your user name is the key to your online identity on many sites. Here are some tips for choosing a good user name:

  1. Pick a user name that you can remember. If you create a name that's unusual for you, you may not remember it the next time you log on.
  2. Make it simple. Avoid using too many symbols or upper and lower case letters. It'll slow you down when you type it in.
  3. Never use a social security number as a user name or password. Social security numbers may be hard to guess and easy to remember, but they could give malicious hackers a coveted piece of personal information that can be exploited.
  4. Decide whether you want to remain anonymous. On some community sites, your user name will appear next to each of your public posts.
  5. Slow down. If you choose a user name in haste, you may not be able to change it later. This is especially important for accounts that stay with you for years to come.