Don't Waste Your Money: Vary your online passwords

(Toledo News Now) - Did you hear about the recent security breach at the social networking site LinkedIn? If you're not a LinkedIn member, you probably thought nothing of it, but it's an important warning for everyone about passwords.

What's your Facebook password? Don't yell it out; just think about it. Now think about your bank or credit card password. If they are the same, you could end up in trouble.

The LinkedIn password breach may not have had you concerned, but it should be a reminder that password theft can happen on any website. Too many of us use the same passwords all the time.

"I usually use the same password. I use the same password with most of my accounts," said Delaney Anning.

Even though he knows he shouldn't, Harry Loughmiller admits he uses the same passwords at some sites.

"I do have some passwords at multiple places, but I have multiple passwords that I use," said Loughmiller.

That's a bit better. But the theft of millions of passwords from LinkedIn and eHarmony should be a warning to all of us.

Sure, if someone hacks into your LinkedIn account it's annoying, but if that ID thief gets your name and password and starts plugging it into bank and credit card websites, they can cause serious damage.

For that reason, Internet security firms warn you to change those passwords.

"I vary the password. I change a different character in each one, but they're generally kind of the same," said Mary Ann Chimusoro.

Still, a simple change can be good enough to keep a thief who gets one password from hacking into all of your accounts.

If it's too hard to remember multiple passwords, consider changing just a couple of digits in each one. That way they are almost the same, but a thief who discovers one won't have them all. You could also invest in a password book to keep all of your passwords handy in one location. That way you don't waste your money.

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