We’ve all heard the term “hacking”. You see it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites when a person says something like, “So and so hacked ya, log out next time!”. That’s loosely throwing around a word that is honestly, a dangerous little devil. In reality, thousands of people every year get their email accounts hacked and trust me, those hackers don’t love you. They are there to take whatever information they can get to steal your identity, use your credit card, take your money, and all sorts of other nasty things. But you don’t have to make it easy for them. Having a secure email service as well as taking some really basic security precautions will go a long way.

First off, you’re probably thinking you’re fine, you don’t have anything to worry about! Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Your email, while in itself may not be valuable information, can and many times is the digital gateway to your private life. I’m sure many of use eBay, Amazon, Paypal, and others for your online shopping needs. I mean come on, it’s so convenient right? Well it is, but all of those sites require an email to login. Should your email get hacked, suddenly someone has to access to all of your bank and Paypal statements that you used to buy that cheap Louis Vuitton handbag. Let’s say you’re a penny saver and you don’t shop online, well then you’ll still want to protect your email because the last thing you want is your business email to be hacked and suddenly have corporate espionage on your hands. Oh wait, you say you don’t shop online or use your email for business? Well it’s still good practice to do what it takes to have a secure email so that you will be cautious in all parts of your life. So here’s just a few tips on how to do that.

Have a strong password!
It’s easy and simple and you hear it all the time, but seriously some people just don’t listen. Abc123 isn’t gonna cut it, make it much more complicated. Something only you know. Like, for instance, where you and the love of your life met, the name of that coffee shop, what town, what day, what year, make it as long as you need it to be so that it won’t be simple to hack.

Don’t use the same passwords!
Seriously, this is pretty obvious but again, a lot of people make this simple mistake. Please do not use the same password for everything. I know, it’s so easy to remember just one password but if it’s that easy for you, just think how easy it will be for that hacker.

Have a second email account.
A lot of companies will give you the option to back up your email by linking a secondary email as a security measure. This is a great way to keep your email secure, because (as long as the passwords aren’t the same) you’ll always have a way to retrieve it.

Have unique security questions.
Security questions are there for a reason. But please don’t defeat the purpose of them. “What’s your favorite pet’s name?” Don’t go answering the same name as the pet you post pictures of all the time on Instagram and Facebook. Keep it unique, something only you will know.

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