This holiday season, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reminding residents that their online accounts, computer and phone hold a lot of personal, financial and health information — valuable to individuals and to scammers.

To help people protect themselves online, the FTC lists five things that can be done to keep hackers out of accounts and personal business.

First, lock down online accounts. Passwords are the key to all the personal information in an account. Make it long, avoid common words and don’t re-use it. Turn on multi-factor authentication if it is available.

Second, secure your home Wi-Fi network. To protect it from hackers, encrypt it, change the default passwords and keep it up to date. Find information at

Third, protect computers and phones. When going online, make sure security software, operating system and Internet browsers are up to date. Turn on automatic updates and keep phones up to date, too.

Fourth, recognize attempts to steal personal information. Scammers try to trick people into giving them personal information. They’ll pretend they’re with a known organization, such as Apple or Amazon, and make up a reason they need some info. If you get a phishing email or text message, report it at

Finally, back up important information on computers and phones, so that if something does happen, the information can be recovered.

Learn more at


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