Online security: Simple steps to help protect your accounts

Your login is your first line of cyber defense, so make it as unique as you. Think of it as your cyber thumb print. A lot of care should go into choosing a login, but too often we settle on one and use it across multiple accounts. The average person has 27 discrete online logins, but not 27 unique passwords.1 The most common passwords in America are 123456 and 123456789. That’s not very unique.

Safeguard your money with a little added security

Saving money is hard work. So, you deserve to know what steps to take to help keep your accounts secure as you continue toward your financial goals—including retirement. But the fact is, in 2016 15.4 million U.S. consumers lost a total of $16 billion to online theft.2 The good news? There are simple steps you can take to help protect your online accounts.

Graphic depicting the fact that $107 billion has been stolen in the past 6 years by identity thieves.

Protect yourself.

We’d all love a virtual watch dog guarding the front door to our computer files and account information. However, there’s a lot you can do to take matters into your own hands and keep these hackers and fraudsters away from your accounts. Begin with the following:

  • Protect your account numbers, PINs and passwords. We all forget our passwords sometimes (in fact, 37% of people forget a password at least once a week1). So write it down, and find a secure location in your home to store all your financial records.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, as this can be a way around your anti-virus software to introduce a virus. Test your phishing I.Q.
  • Practice smartphone security. Never send sensitive data like credit card info via text message. And be sure all apps you download are from reputable sources.
  • Take advantage of two-step authentication. This extra layer of security during the login process requires a password, username and either a personal piece of information only you know or a physical token that you possess. Together, this combination makes it more difficult for potential intruders to gain access and steal your personal data or identity—even if they have your password.

For additional ways to protect your online accounts, check out the FTC guidelines on online security

Do you have an account with Principal?

If so, take a simple step to make your account safer by getting it set up with two-step authentication. 

1 Intel Security


Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, a member of the Principal Financial Group® (Principal®), Des Moines, Iowa 50392.