Cutting your costs, fighting your corner
For immediate release Sunday 28 May 2017
Consumers at risk of fraud with identical passwords for almost EVERYTHING
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis says many need a ‘password self-defence class’
Nearly half (49%) of people sampled by the UK’s biggest consumer help site, MoneySavingExpert.com, are using more or less the same password for scores of their protected accounts. Using different passwords for your accounts is crucial to protect yourself from cyber-scammers, says the site’s founder, Martin Lewis.
Following a worldwide malware attack which hit the NHS two weeks ago, MoneySavingExpert.com polled nearly 9,000 of its users and found that:
· Shockingly, 26% of those with 25 accounts or fewer use the same password for everything.
· More than a third (35%) of those with 50 protected accounts or fewer only use different passwords for financial accounts, but mostly the same for others.
· Many with over 100 password-protected accounts have taken positive steps to manage their security. Over half (53%) use password-manager apps to keep track of them, and this is the least likely group to use the same password for everything (5%).
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “We now live in a password-for-everything world, which is overwhelming. These frightening results show many, understandably, give up on security for the sake of ease, and are in need of urgent password self-defence classes.
“Having one password for everything is a mistake – even if it’s a complex, difficult-to-crack combination of numbers, symbols and letters. Social media sites, forums and information sites that don’t take financial details have far lower levels of security. This means they’re prone to being hacked – a quick check on www.haveibeenpwned.com will show you how many times your security has already been compromised. So if you’re using the same password for banks or accounts with your payment details, you’re taking a risk.”
There are ways to strengthen your password security online. Martin continued: “Thankfully there are a growing number of password-safe apps which make it easy to have lots of different passwords. Or to go old school, just think of three or four keywords and numbers which only you know. Then combine them, forwards and backwards, to create multiple passwords, and store in code (without noting the actual words) which combination you use for what.
“Don’t always assume you’ll get money back for unauthorised payments either – while the regulator the Financial Conduct Authority says you should be covered unless you are ‘grossly negligent’, I’m hearing more stories of people struggling to get their money back, with financial firms disputing what’s happened more frequently. Don’t rely on them to protect you. Protect yourself first.”
Notes to editors
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About Martin Lewis: Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is the journalist and consumer campaigner who created MoneySavingExpert.com and is now the site’s Executive Chair. Martin also founded and chairs the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity.
He’s the UK’s most-googled man, Citizens Advice’s Consumer Champion of the Year, and has spearheaded major financial justice campaigns including bank charges reclaiming (over seven million template letters downloaded), PPI reclaiming (over six million) and a successful large-scale campaign to get financial education in schools. He has his own prime-time ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, as well as a range of other regular media slots. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014.
About MoneySavingExpert.com: MoneySavingExpert.com is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site Alexa.com, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 12 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month. In September 2012, it joined the MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC.
 Sum of those who use the same/mostly the same password for every account and those who use different passwords for financial accounts, but mostly the same for others.
 Sum of those who said they have 1-10 or 11-25 accounts, who answered that they use the same/mostly the same password for every account.
 Sum of those who said they have 1-10, 11-25 or 26-50 accounts, who answered that they use different passwords for financial accounts, but mostly the same for others.