The Case for Sharing Your Passwords

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We talk a lot about protecting ourselves against identity theft and data breaches, but don't forget to give the key to sensitive information to least one trusted individual. Here's why.

With the seemingly constant threat of a cyberattack, data breach or someone stealing your identity, it’s really no surprise that many Americans – myself included – keep electronic usernames and passwords under lock and key. But regardless of how often you hear “never share your password,” it’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

In fact, it’s a good idea to share your passwords with someone you trust, according to Consumer Reports. Here’s why: “What if you were suddenly incapacitated and the person you rely on to take care of you didn’t know the passwords to access your online accounts?”

A Pew Research Center survey found that a third of married couples or people in committed relationships haven’t disclosed the log-in information to one or more online accounts with their partner.

If you’re like me, you’ve talked about compiling a list of usernames and passwords that you can share with your spouse, but you haven’t actually done it. It’s time to change that.

Don’t worry, it’s not a daunting task.

“A variety of technological and nontech solutions make collecting and storing the passwords easy,” CR said.

Here are two easy ways to compile your password data and share it:

  • Password manager: You can download a password manager program and install it on your computer. It securely stores all your login and password information behind one username and password. So instead of keeping track of your login information for multiple sites, you just need to remember one username and password. Some password manager programs – including Last Pass, Dashlane, Keeper and PasswordBox – offer a username and password sharing feature, so you can share that information with one trustworthy person, CR said. Those programs are also free, so that’s an extra bonus. It’s important that you disclose your information to only one trusted person who you can be sure won’t use it unless it’s an emergency, noted a PC Mag article about passing on passwords and other information in the event of your untimely death.
  • Pen and paper: If you want a nondigital solution, you can’t go wrong with a pen and paper. CR recommends using a basic notebook – like a composition book – to store your password information. “Then stash the notebook in a locked, fireproof box in an easily accessible place, such as under the bed or in the closet,” CR said.

Have you shared your username and password information with anyone? Share your comments (but no passwords, please!) below or on our Facebook page.

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