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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Create a Master Username & Password List

Making a list of this kind usually takes about an hour to draw up, yet it can be one of the most vital documents that you ever make. The list should be encrypted & should be absolutely unviewable online to anyone but yourself (or someone who legally needs/deserves access to it, in the event of joint accounts). I don't recommend putting this information on an outside server's document database, even if it's password-protected. If their servers ever got hacked- and it does happen- your information could be putty in a thief's hands. Keep the info solely on your own computer as a Microsoft Word document or typed into a similar software program. This list should include all voicemail passwords/telephone access PIN #'s, ATM PIN #'s for debit or credit cards & all other needed info to access accounts. If a symbol such an hourglass comes up when your password is typed in, to verify that it's only been you getting into the account, be sure to include that symbol's info on the list, too. This is vital information to have should you misplace the original documents possessing this information, if those documents get stolen (this list will enable you to quickly contact all businesses who will need to stop fraudulent activity on your accounts) or if you just go blank & completely forget your own password. A natural disaster could also occur & instantaneously take away old paper documents holding this information forever, so it's essential that you take the time now to preserve it in another manner.

NEVER type this up & keep it on a computer system that does not have a complete anti-virus, -worm & -Trojan system on watch at all times. Do NOT type it up & print it off of a shared computer, meaning one at the public library or work. Don't put it on a computer that minors can access, even your own children.

If you print off a version of this in order to have a paper copy: I highly recommend that you do NOT put this in your purse and/or Office in a Bag- anything, in other words, in any bag that would leave your home. This list is something that should be regarded in the same manner as your Social Security card or birth certificate- NOBODY should have access to this unless you specifically give it to them for a good reason. Store this document ideally in a waterproof, fireproof safety deposit box or safe- preferably one that cannot be easily lifted from your premises. I DO think that having a paper copy is a good idea- after all, hard drives can get destroyed just as surely as paper documents can. But just like your Social Security card, this should be treated with the greatest of care. Guard this document with your life precisely because it is your online lifeline, literally. That said, it's an important document to have completed, because if you pass away or are ill for long periods of time (without being to use a computer) a trusted family member or friend will have to know how to access accounts in order to pay your online bills. They'll also need to know this info in order to shut down accounts that will no longer be used in your name, such as Facebook & Twitter accounts, in the event of your death. Yes, they can obtain this information eventually if they provide a death certificate or power of attorney to the company- but that is not a quick or easy process. As usual, I urge you only to do what will make your life simpler & more organized- nothing more & nothing less.

Here's to being an organized minimalist,

Liz

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