Ugh! Do you ever feel whenever you’re trying to sign in, you might as well just hit “Forgot my Password”? There are two ways to deal with this.

The not so Smart Way

You can use the same password for all accounts, then you don’t forget it, right? The downside is that makes it EASY for hackers to steal your identity and drain you of your accounts and possibly commit criminal activities in your name. Once they get into one account, they’re now able to get into all your accounts.

The Smart Way – get UPSET!

You’re already upset because you forgot your password, so how does getting upset help? By using UPSET as a handy identity management tool.


U – Username

Having a unique username is really good practice to keep hackers confused. 

P – Password

Let’s face it – a complex password that’s tough to break can also be tough to remember. Create a password like a phrase that has some special characters in it, and you can just remember the phrase.

S – Security Questions

Whatever answer you give for a security question doesn’t have to be the truth. Your mother’s maiden name can be anything!

E – Email tied to this Account

Try not to mix business and pleasure – what do I mean by that? Create email accounts that you use for social media and fun activities, and set up separate email accounts for just business / financial type activities. 

T – Two Factor Authentication

This is an invaluable tool – if the website doesn’t recognize your browser (say you’re logging in from a different computer), it will send a text or email to the phone / email account on file to confirm that it’s you. 


How do I keep all this organized?

Here’s a tool I’ve used which works really well – you can get a mini-notebook / binder like an Arc Project Planner, which you can get at Staples. However, most any office store has similar types of mini-notebooks. 

This works well for handling UPSET identity management – here’s an example of what it might look like using an Arc Project Planner page.

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Using a planner like this can help you keep all of your information in one place, and can be kept physically safe out of the hands of hackers. 

Christopher Grounds, Ph.D., CIPA, is a Certified Identity Protection Advisor with the Identity Management Institute, and is the co-owner of Benefits4Success with Joni Grounds, whose mission is to grow and protect individuals and small businesses. He can be reached at .

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