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Mellody: There are a few common sense, straightforward rules to follow. First things first: you have to be on top of your passwords. Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. If you do this and a hacker gains this information, they have access to everything. It is also important to select unique passwords – do not use “password” as your password – and to change your passwords regularly.

Second: do not use public or unsecured wireless networks to access your bank account, your stock portfolio, your student loan accounts, or other intimate financial sites. Third, keep sensitive personal files and account information on your personal computer, not on work or other public computers. While none of this is rocket science, it does require some behavioral changes. Given the stakes, they are small, and taking preventative measures is much easier than trying to rebuild your whole financial life after your information has been compromised!

We can be certain of that! Thanks for joining us this morning, Mellody!

Mellody: Happy to help, Tom!

Mellody is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS news and

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Money Mondays: Protecting Your Financial Info  was originally published on

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