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Password Help!

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t hear how frustrating it can be to keep track of passwords. Is there any perfect system?

Probably not. But I can suggest an easy system that might work for you.

First, create passwords that all have the same word in them:

  • Netflix: baseball
  • SunTrust: baseball123
  • Amazon: Baseball123*
  • Facebook: ilovebaseball

Each password will have to satisfy the requirements of the particular site (number of characters, capital letters, numbers, symbols, etc. — and thus some passwords can be the same for more than one company), but all you have to remember is your one word.

Then, when you write down your passwords, you need only write the name of the company and the “encrypted” password, using the first letter of your word to represent the whole word. You know what your word is but others will not.

Your “cheat sheet” might look like this:

  • Netflix: b
  • SunTrust: b123
  • Amazon: B123*
  • Facebook: iloveb

The word should not be something easy to guess like your name, spouse’s name, your pet’s name, or your street name. If necessary, write down that “b = baseball,” but store that information separately.

Once you have your system, consider storing your encrypted passwords in your computer or on your smartphone, rather than on a piece of paper. If the document is in your computer, name the file something more deceptive than “passwords.” If you store your passwords in your phone, you will have them if you need to access an account when you are not home. Even though the passwords are encrypted, you should still lock your phone.

One further refinement: If you store your passwords in your smartphone or your computer, consider storing them in your address book (contacts) list, rather than as a text document. Under “S,” you might have a listing for SunTrust Bank which contains phone numbers and email addresses. In the “note” section, you can enter your encrypted password for that account. This system would make signing on to a specific account easier than hunting through a list of all of your passwords.

Just some suggestions to be sure that the person your passwords are keeping out isn’t you!