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What is the code for all these secret codes?
Senior Moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. - photo by File photo

It seems like I have a secret code or password for just about everything nowadays. The other night, I was crawling into bed and my wife asked me for my passcode. What?

She said, "You’ve been acting kinda strange and I want to be sure you are my husband".

The other day I called LifeLock, the identity theft protection company, to ask a question about my account. I had to give them a verbal passcode before I could speak to a representative. Of course I forgot the code so after 10 minutes of thorough vetting, I was finally able to speak to someone about my account.

And, as usual, I had to come up with a new verbal passcode for the one I could not remember. Yikes. Does anyone else have this problem?

Think about it. We have codes and passwords for phones, computers, alarm systems for home, work and our automobiles, email and internet accounts, bank accounts, credit cards, bank cards, storage units, TV settings, remote controls, and the list goes on and on. We have basically reduced our lives to a number; or a combination of numbers, letters, some capitalized, some not, and symbols. Take your pick.

I’m probably the world’s least expert at setting codes and passwords. So I did a little research and this is what I discovered.

According to an article printed by USA Today, you should use a different password for every website you visit. Are you kidding me? Absolutely not!

I know it seems like password overload but it is a lot less work than dealing with getting hacked. Use a combination of at least six characters — upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols; the more original, the better.

According to Norton, some of the most common passwords created by online users have been: password, 123456, qwerty, 111111 and monkey. I don’t get "monkey", but I understand "qwerty." Take a look at your keyboard — all the letters to qwerty are in a row. Not a good idea, according to the experts.

It is a good idea to change your passwords every three months. And if you are like me and it’s hard to remember all your passwords, try a password manager. Free apps include Dashlane, Password Box and Last Pass. Be aware you’ll probably need a passcode for your password manager app. I thought all this technology was supposed to make our lives easier?

It’s bad to write down your passwords on paper. I did this once and then lost the paper. Then I had to go back and change all my passcodes. Wow, that was not fun at all because, again, I had to go through a third-degree, critical examination of who I was before I could change my passwords because I had forgotten the original ones.

Lastly, make sure your computer has an anti-virus program. Several companies offer some sort of all-in-one suite of protections. Some of the more popular ones are Avast, Bitdefender, Norton, Webroot, McAfee and Kaspersky. You can also set up a two-step log-in process. Two-step authentication asks you to sign in with your password, and then add a second sign-in — a numeric code sent by text, e-mail or a phone call. Think of it as a double password. Ok, now I’m getting scared.

Protect your online self, my friends.

You can contact DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at:

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