How safe are your online passwords?

Get your passwords up to par to thwart online scammers and thieves

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Mainland BC, in conjunction with the BBBs across Canada, held its fourth annual National Password Day on March 15. The initiative—part of National Fraud Prevention Month and BBB’s Top 10 Scams campaign—is an opportunity to both remind and encourage businesses and consumers to practice proactive cybersecurity.

Even though National Password Day has come and gone, BBB encourages the public to schedule time to change the passwords for the top three accounts you would not want to see hacked.

“Passwords are such an integral part of our digital lives, as we use them to help secure important personal and financial information,” says Karla Davis, Manager of Community and Public Relations for BBB serving Mainland BC. “However, with 73 per cent of users repeating the same password for multiple online accounts, and the majority not creating strong passwords at all, there are millions of people whose confidential information is one hacker away from being compromised, placing them at risk of falling victim to identity theft.”

A study in the UK found that the average person has around 118 accounts, with the most common ones being activated on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. More than 90 per cent of consumers are now shopping online, which means many people also have accounts for Amazon, Ebay, and other retail stores, as well as for bank accounts and bill payment portals.

While most of our online accounts are inactive or are used less frequently, every single one has our personal and financial information tied to them in some way: passwords, emails, and even credit card information.

To create a strong password, use between eight and 13 characters, and use a combination of upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols. You can also use song lyrics, words in another language, or an unusual movie title.

Things to avoid when creating a password include using family and/or pet names, birth dates, and addresses or phone numbers. And don’t just add a number or letter to your last password: create something completely new.

Aim to create strong passwords that vary across accounts and are difficult to guess, keeping in mind that every extra character in your password reduces the risk of the account being compromised. Also, change your passwords frequently—at least two or three times per year—and never share your passwords with anyone.

Another way to reduce your exposure to hacking, and also manage the number of passwords to remember, is by closing any account you have not used in over a year. Scammers can do great harm using dormant or inactive accounts. Close old accounts that use or are associated with money, credit cards, or bill payments, and do not forget to delete inactive email and social media accounts, as well as accounts on subscription sites.

To learn more, including additional password security best practices, go to For information on BBB’s National Top 10 Scams, go to

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cache Creek council votes to rejoin local transit system

Details need to be worked out, but hopes are that change can be expedited

Ashcroft residents get information at Community Forum

Water treatment plant, recycling, an Eco-Depot, the budget, and more among items addressed

Elizabeth May’s wedding will be a ‘low-carbon affair’ in Victoria on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

Fire forces 36 people at Vanderhoof care home to evacuate

No one was hurt after the fire at Stuart Nechako Manor

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

B.C. Interior yoga studio raises $2,500 for woman leaving abusive relationship

The 100 Mile House studio held a fundraiser yoga class and accepted donations from members to help the woman

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Most Read