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Do you remember when Target was hacked, and as many as 40 million credit cards were compromised? People everywhere were losing trust in the large retail chain, because it felt unsafe to shop at a store that could lose such a large amount of personal financial data at once.

I remember the Target hacking very well. I got an email from USAA telling me very calmly that 1) my debit card had been part of the breach, 2) USAA had already issued me a new debit card, and 3) Any fraudulent transactions would be taken care of by USAA. Imagine that? I received instant assurance that I had nothing to worry about.

Now contrast that image with a much worse event – when my Broadway Bank Business debit card was compromised. Broadway is a much smaller bank than USAA, but they offer business accounts whereas USAA does not. The compromising of my account was much different at Broadway than at USAA.

I logged into my Broadway account to find three transactions I did not remember making. I called Broadway to ask about these, and they told me that they might be fraudulent. Over the course of the next three weeks, a total of seventeen fraudulent transactions were posted to my account, and I had to personally fight each one to get my money back. I ended up leaving Broadway Bank, but the takeaway is very important.

Now let’s talk passwords

I remember reading about how ebay’s passwords may have been compromised somewhat recently, but I didn’t panic at all. I simply logged into ebay, changed my password with LastPass, then logged into PayPal, changed my password with LastPass, and went on my merry way.

What if I hadn’t been using LastPass (a password manager)? If that had been the case, I would have had to log into every single website where I use the same email/password combination and change all of them. With LastPass, though, I set up a unique, strong password for each site I log in to, so if any one of them is compromised, the others are still safe.

LastPass gives me the same feeling of security that USAA does with my money. If I weren’t using a password manager, I’d feel very much the way I did at Broadway Bank when my information was compromised: scared and vulnerable.

If you aren’t using a password manager like LastPass right now, you need to start right away. When you subscribe to LastPass’ Premium Service (get one month free when you use my link), you also get access to their mobile apps, so you can use your password manager on your tablet or smartphone. I can’t tell you the number of times this has come in handy for me while out and about.

Don’t be caught scared and vulnerable, like I was. Start using a password manager today, and rid your password repertoire of pet names. It’ll take you an afternoon to reset all of your passwords into secure ones, but once you do, you’ll feel safe and secure online.

Try out LastPass Now

*get one month free Premium using the link above

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