• "I am deeply grateful to the Masonic Village's employees, and will never be able to express my gratitude to all of them." — Catherine L.

  • "I liked my Masonic Charity Foundation charitable gift annuity so much, I opened three more. Why? I might be old-fashioned, but the scriptures have taught me the virtue of looking out for others. Knowing that the funds left in my gift annuities will care for the Masonic Village residents makes me feel wonderful." — Dorothy B.

  • "I am writing to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, just how wonderful the last two years of my mother's life were, thanks to all of you at the Masonic Village at Burlington." — Carol O.

  • "It's not just the Masonic Village's beautiful facilities and the many services that are offered to the residents – most of all, it's the employees. They are personally dedicated it seems to each and every individual here." — Catherine L.

  • "We are equally grateful for the 'loving arms of hospice' that were wrapped around our family in our hour of need." — M.W.

  • "When we decided to come to the Masonic Village at Burlington, we knew it was going to be a very big change in our lives. When we came here, we were very pleased that it was not difficult. We would recommend the Masonic Village highly to a friend." — Joseph and Bertha B.

  • "There is simply no way to express the depth of gratitude I feel for the Masonic Village at Burlington – thank you!" — Jim C.

  • "We know first-hand how very special Acacia Hospice's caregivers are, and we thank every single one of them from the bottom of our hearts." — J.M.

  • "It is with a grateful heart that we extend to you our deepest gratitude for the loving care that Acacia Hospice afforded our beloved Aunt." — M.W.

  • "It has been a source of tremendous relief that my parents were in such caring and professional hands during the final years of their lives." — Jim C.

  • "It takes a very special person to do the job Acacia Hospice's caregivers do every day. We would like you to know we think you have an incredible group of 'Angels.'" — J.M

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Wednesday December 12, 2018

Washington News

Washington Hotline

IRS Urges Strong Passwords

Most Americans have financial, social media, Social Security, retirement, phone, internet, retail and other online accounts. Each account has a username and a password.

Some financial, tax, government and other accounts also offer "two-factor" authentication. With two-factor authentication, you log on to the account, then a verification code is texted to your mobile phone (it is usually valid for a short period of time). You must then enter that code in order to access your account.

In IR-2018-151, the Service published guidelines for creating strong passwords. These strong password guidelines are helpful for both tax professionals and consumers.

There are nine IRS recommended methods for creating and tracking strong passwords.
  1. Minimum Length — Passwords should be at least eight characters. Passwords with ten to fourteen characters are even more secure.
  2. Characters — Use a combination of at least one uppercase letter, one number and lowercase letters in your passwords. For greater security, include symbols such as !, @ or #.
  3. Not Personal — Avoid using your name, street, city, pet's name or other personal information in your password.
  4. Change Defaults — Many devices, such as your home internet modem, are set up with "password" as the default password. You should change "password" to a new 8-14 character and number password. There are multiple email hacking cases with users who had "password" as their password. This was poor judgment.
  5. Reusing Passwords — Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. Each account should have a unique password.
  6. Email Address Username — If permitted, use a unique username rather than an email address. If this is not permitted, you may reduce risk by not using your primary email address. You can create another email address through one of many complimentary email services.
  7. Secure Storage — If you keep a written or electronic list of passwords, store the printed list or a thumb drive with the electronic file in a safe, locked cabinet or other secure location.
  8. Disclosure — Do not share your passwords with anyone. Do share the access method to your passwords with your electronic executor and authorize him or her to access your accounts. As is the case with all executors, you should be careful in selecting a trustworthy person as your electronic executor.
  9. Password Manager — There are several companies that provide password manager programs with 256-bit encryption. If you use this method, set up a strong password for the account and share it with your electronic executor.
Editor's Note: Many Americans now have 40-80 total online accounts. With a password manager program, you can have 40-80 strong, unique passwords. It is also much more secure to use two-factor authentication on your bank and retirement accounts. You may want to use a password manager software to transfer encrypted data from one device to another so you always have a backup of your passwords.

Published August 31, 2018
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