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TIPS: How to keep your accounts from being hacked

Hackers are developing more sophisticated ways to steal your information.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We store some of our most valuable information online and protecting that information is important -- but hacking is a booming business, and people are developing more sophisticated ways to do it.

“With all of these new things, now it’s so hard to tell the difference,” said Brent Bigelow, president of the Charlotte chapter of the Information Systems Security Association.

Email accounts, bank accounts and social media accounts are the top three most valuable online services in terms of information. Passwords should be long and complex; experts suggest using a phrase. 

Passwords should also be different for different types of accounts. 

For example, the most valuable accounts, like banking, should have the hardest passwords to crack.

"Figure out what your values are but keep those passwords separate so that way if I compromise one of your passwords, I didn't get all of them,” Bigelow said. 

He also encourages people to set up two-factor authentication for accounts. For example, getting a text message before being able to log in to your bank account.

If accounts are compromised, the first thing to do is change those passwords.

Email hacking is the most common type. So, before clicking on something in a message, even if it looks like it’s real, think twice. Bigelow says scammers are getting better at making their tricks look authentic.

"The language used to be really broken, now its perfect English. Your bank statement logo is perfect,” he said.

It’s happening right now on Venmo. Users have been getting a text asking them to log in to cancel a withdrawal from their account. They’ll then be prompted to enter their banking information to verify the account.

Bigelow says phones are easy to hack too. The best thing to do is to turn the Bluetooth off when out in public places.


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