MALTA, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Reports of fraud in the U.S. increased dramatically in the past couple of years. Consumers were swindled out of $5.8 billion from fraudsters in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

FTC data released Feb. 22 shows losses reported last year were 70% higher than in 2020. In the 2.8 million reports it received, the agency said imposter scams were the most reported, followed by online shopping scams.

Fraudsters use various means to retrieve valuable customer information but scams offering prizes, sweepstakes, and free gifts were the most popular type in 2021, said Fraud.org. These types of scams made up 35% of the reports Fraud.org received. The organization said investment fraud was the fastest-growing type of fraud.

“Password management is absolutely vital in protecting data,” said Innovative Technologies Owner, Paul Tracey. The Malta company shared a list of the worst passwords from 2021 Monday on LinkedIn. At the top of that list were “123456789,” “password,” and “qwerty.”

The 50 worst passwords of 2021

How were these deemed the worst passwords? Tracey said the information is based on how much the password is used and how often it’s for sale on the dark web. Here’s how to create a strong password:

  • Use 16 characters or more
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and characters
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Don’t use personal information like address and phone number, or information that can be used on social media like kids’ or pets’ names
  • Don’t use any consecutive letters or numbers
  • Don’t use “password” or repeat the same letter/number

*Source: Security.org

“Insecure, shared, or reused passwords create an incredible and unnecessary risk to your private information,” Tracey said. “Password management is one of the lowest cost implementations with massive benefits in cyber security, and the best part is you can start today for free by changing your passwords.”