Sheconomistas protect their digital footprints like they do their favorite shoes.

#1 Do it ------ > Use a unique password for everything, every time.

Data breaches are a legit concern. There are evil wizards out there who take your username and password and enter it into a crazy algorithm that tries to break into other sites using the same username and password combo because they bank on people not following the rules. The threat is real.

Of bigger concern, are the hackers with whom we are close. I have heard multiple confessions where people have *broken* into someone’s email account because that someone uses the same password across the board, from Gmail to Amazon. Maybe they shared the password for something benign, "Oh go ahead and login to my Netflix account to watch that movie you've been wanting to see." Next thing you know, they start asking you strategic questions to answer security questions to get into your bank account. I sound paranoid, I know. But I am a repository of money crazy which is why I share this with you. Sheconomistas stay ahead of crazy.

I recommend you use a formula with a unique identifier, so they are different but easy to remember. I like something like [name of childhood home street] + [date of favorite holiday] + [first four letters of website] + [a capital letter] + [a symbol]. So my make-believe Amazon password would be "curtis0101amaZ!". And my make-believe nytimes.com password would be "curtis0101nytI!".

There is further explanation of how to do that and then some over here, The guide to password security (and why you should care) via CNET if you want to get super serious.

*Pro Tip: Does the thought of changing all your passwords make your stomach turn? Change as you go, one site at a time. Or, binge-watch some bad TV and just go for it as if you are doing a closet purge.

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