According to CreditExpert, in the first quarter of 2012 over 12 million pieces of personal data were illegally traded online. This is more than the whole of 2010 when 9.5 million pieces of data were illegally passed on. This sudden rise is thought to be due to consumers having more online accounts than ever before. Think about it; along with internet banking we now pay our gas and electric bills, TV licence, car tax and all kinds of insurance via the web.
Then there’s social networking – separate accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many more. The average Briton now has 26 different online accounts. We’re more willing than ever to type in our details and hit ‘Sign up’ but tend to use the same password for multiple accounts to avoid forgetting. If fraudsters get hold of your password then they’ll try it on all your other accounts and access even more of your personal data.
Here are three top tips for making your passwords as strong as possible to protect your personal data:
- Avoid using obvious passwords such as pet or road names. Use three completely random, unrelated words in succession that no-one would think of.
- The longer your password, the harder it’ll be to crack so make it at least eight characters.
- Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and special characters.
If you’re worried about your details being stolen then get a 30-day free credit check with CreditExpert. They’ll be able to highlight any irregularities with your credit accounts such as people applying for loans or cards in your name.