Can Your Password Change Your Life?

I’m a stickler for strong passwords. Amazingly, the top 10 passwords used on the internet in 2015 were:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. football
  8. 1234
  9. 1234567
  10. baseball

Is it any wonder people get their logins hacked? If you’re someone using any of these, please change them immediately.

What to change them to? Well, the recommendation is to make your passwords at least 8 characters, using upper and lower case letters, special characters (those above the numbers) and add a number or two. As you know, if, as also recommended, you use a different password for every site your need to log into, it gets pretty hard to remember what passwords are going where. I’ve recommended password programs in the past, such as LastPass and RoboForm, programs that will generate new passwords and remember what password goes to which login. There are several other really good ones. Programs like this are essential when using multiple passwords at multiple sites that you may not be logging into all of the time.

For those passwords that you use daily, or those that you use that you are forced to change on a regular basis, there is a formula to create passwords that have the capability of changing your life. Are there habits that you’re trying to break, or acquire? Are there things that you need to remember to do regularly, but somehow forget? Are there mantras or affirmations you need to remember to say? Turn them into a password.

I recently read an article from Mauricio Estrella. He was going through some life altering things. Per company policy, he was forced to change his password at work every 30 days.

“I’m gonna use a password to change my life,” he recalls thinking.

He continues:

“My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it.

My password became: Forgive@h3r

I had to type this statement several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screensaver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.

In my mind, I went with the mantra that I didn’t type a password. In my mind, I wrote “Forgive her” everyday, for one month.”

Changing that password changed the way he thought of his former spouse. It was a recurring refrain, he says, a reminder to forgive her, accept the uncoupling, and embrace a recovery from depression.

“In the following days, my mood improved drastically,” Estrella continues. “By the end of the 2nd week, I noticed that this password became less powerful, and it started to lose its effect. A quick refresh of this ‘mantra’ helped me. I thought to myself I forgive heras I typed it, every time. The healing effect of it came back almost immediately.” You can read the whole article here.

Sound like something you can do? Of course. Think about things weighing on your mind. Turn them into a daily password and Change Your Life.

Don’t Get Scammed While Shopping This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us. That means Black Friday, Cyber Monday, online shopping, deliveries, special emails, etc.

With all of that going on, the chance of being scammed increases. It was this time last year that Target’s checkout registers were hacked and millions of customers had their credit card information stolen. That was followed by Home Depot and preceded preceded by TJ Max and others. You avoided the stores and decided to shop online? That’s fine until you get the emails from UPS, FedEX, USPS letting you know that the item you’re expecting can’t be delivered, but click this link to find out why….VIRUS. So, what do you do? These tips should help.

Use a Credit Card, Not a Debit Card

Credit cards are much more secure than debit cards. You are protected for fraudulent purchases over $50. Additionally, your debit card is usually connected to your checking account so if someone steals your debit card information, they also have direct access to your checking account. A credit card protects you from that as well.

Another option is to get a prepaid or single use credit card. You can talk to your financial institution to see if they offer single use credit cards. They are great for shopping online. You use them once and no one can use them again.

Watch Out for Emails

This is the time of year where your email is getting bombarded with special offers. Incredible deals abound, just click this link…Don’t do it. Emails have an amazing way of looking like they’re coming from a reputable store but when you click the link, you’re taken to a website that just wants to steal your data.

If you see something you really like in an email, don’t click the link. Open your browser and go to the store’s website to see if they’re really offering that special. If so, use your credit card and order it. If not, delete the email. It was spam.

If you get an email from UPS, FedEX or USPS, be wary. They’ll tell you that your package was returned because it couldn’t be delivered and prompt you to click a link to find out why, or download and open an attachment. Don’t do it as that attachment or link will most likely contain a virus. 

The Top Sites in a Search Engine Are Usually Ad Sites

When you do a search for an item, the top sites that come up are usually ads or links that people pay for so that they come up first. Some of those people who pay for placement will put virus links on their site. Scroll down a little on the page to get  to the real sites that have the products for sale. 

Keep Track of Your Purchases 

Keep accurate records of your transactions. If you order online, print your receipts and keep them in a file. If you’re shopping in stores, keep your receipts and keep them in a file. That way you’ll have everything you need if a dispute arises, and it’s much easier to check your statements against the receipts when the statements come in the next month.