The IRS suggests two actions for preventing identity theft: using strong passwords and keeping those passwords secure.
To achieve a strong password, the IRS has four tips:
- Use word phrases that are easy to remember rather than random letters, characters and numbers that cannot be easily recalled.
- Use a minimum of eight characters; longer is better.
- Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, i.e., XYZ, 567, !@#.
- Avoid personal information or common passwords.
The IRS has the following suggestions for keeping passwords secure
- Change default and temporary passwords that come with accounts or devices.
- Do not reuse passwords and use a completely different password for every account and device.
- Give a password a total makeover when changing it. For example, simply changing Bgood!17 to Bgood!18 is not good enough.
- Do not make a username an email addresses.
- Store password lists in a secure location, such as a safe or locked file cabinet.
- Do not disclose your passwords to anyone for any reason.
- Use a password manager program to track passwords for multiple accounts.
Selecting multi-factor authentication is preferable when there is a preference.