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Online Safety: Protect Yourself

Choose a password you'll remember.
It should be memorable for you (so that you don't have to write it down or leave it in the open), but difficult for others to guess.

Avoid using a word or common phrase.
Avoid a complete word from a dictionary (English or otherwise) or a name.

Use at least 8 characters.
The more characters your password contains, the harder it is for someone to guess it. A long but simple password can be safer than a short, complex one — and often easier to remember.

Use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and standard symbols (! @ # $ % ^ & *).
Passwords are almost always case-sensitive, which means that a capital letter A is different from a lowercase a.

Don't use personal information that someone could easily figure out.
Avoid a password based on information easily obtained about you (like your birthday, your child or pet's name, phone number, license plate number, employer, school name, automobile brand, or street name). Don't use a password you already use for another account, such as your bank account PIN. And don't use your Account Number (or other user name) in any form (such as reversed, capitalized, or doubled).

Avoid the obvious.
Don't make it easy for attackers by repeating a digit or letter (like "111111" or "FFFFFF") or any other common sequence of characters (like "123456"). Stay away from obvious passwords such as "test" or "password." When you change your password, change several characters; don't just append a number like "2" to the end. And make sure anyone watching you enter your password can't guess it as you type (such as a password typed using a single hand, like "qwerty").

Put a new spin on a familiar phrase.
Pick a favorite phrase or lyric for your password. To shorten it, substitute letters with a number or a standard symbol or remove vowels. For example, "fredsboy" can be made into "Fr3d$boy." Shorten "two tickets to paradise" to "2Tickets2Paradiz," or combine "cats" and "dogs" into "cAt$!Do8z"

Change your password frequently.
The more often you change your password, the less likely someone will be able to fraudulently access your information. You should make a habit of changing all of your passwords (not just rotating them or appending a number at the end) every 45 days.

Don’t store/save your password.
Often your Internet browser or cell phone will prompt you to store your password as a convenience. Doing so makes it easy for someone that borrows your phone or sits at the same computer to access your personal information.

Take action if someone gets your password

If, despite your best efforts, your password is compromised—possibly through a security breach at a business—don't panic. Monitor all the information you protect with that password, such as online shopping accounts or investment accounts, and request free copies of your credit reports from the national credit bureaus.

  • Experian; 888-397-3742
  • Equifax; 800-685-1111
  • TransUnion; 800-888-4213

If you see suspicious activity in any of these places, notify the authorities and contact your credit union for help. If you're a victim of identity theft, you should visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

Secure Your Computer – protect your computer against unwanted intrusions such as Malware, Spyware and Viral attacks. Visit www.onguardonline.gov or click on Secure Your Computer to go directly to the web page.

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