Protecting Your Finances in a Digital World

 In Client Bulletins, News

This blog post was written by Dana Carney.

Many people hear news stories of scams or identity theft and think, “That will never happen to me.” However, the odds are not in their favor. According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, 47% of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals while 1 in 3 home computers are infected with malicious software.

Know that River Capital Advisors is regularly reviewing, monitoring, and updating our own cyber security measures and takes your safety seriously. Below, we highlight 5 steps you can take today to protect your finances in a digital world, as recommended by CISA as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For further information and actions you can take to protect your finances, we encourage you to visit the resources linked throughout this post.


1. Think Before You Click:

According to the CISA, 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email. Phishing emails and texts are designed to look like legitimate communications from companies and people you trust. Hackers entice you to share personal information like passwords and account numbers, then use your information for their own gain. As technology evolves, phishing attempts are becoming more complex, looking more legitimate, and passing by spam filters that previously blocked them. The first line of defense is to think before you click. Look for signs of phishing such as generic greetings, requests to update personal or financial information, or links directing you to make a payment. Be wary of email attachments and links you do not recognize, as these could download malware or ransomware onto your device.


2. Update Your Software:

Unfortunately, as showcased by the Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, hackers are finding new ways to take advantage of consumers nearly every day. The good news is that operating systems on your devices as well as the individual programs you use each have entire teams dedicated to keeping your device safe and information secure. Keeping software up to date enables these software providers to protect against known vulnerabilities before bad actors can strike. First, confirm the operating systems of your devices are up to date, then do the same for the individual programs you use across all of your devices. Turn on automatic updates where you can and set periodic reminders to check for updates where you can’t.


3. Use Strong Passwords:

Although many sites have implemented requirements for password length and character use, go above and beyond: use a minimum of 15 characters and make it unique, avoiding common words or phrases; utilize special characters and numbers; do not use any information that is available publicly, such as your birthday or street address; and confirm each log in you use has its own unique password. Keeping track of multiple passwords that meet these requirements may be cumbersome. Consider using a reputable password manager that can safely store your credentials. Password managers enable you to memorize one unique, complex password instead of dozens. If you do opt to use a password manager, confirm you are using two-factor authentication as well.


4. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication:

Think of two-factor, or multifactor, authentication as being similar to the security measures at a physical bank: the front doors lock and can be opened with a key (a password), but funds are also protected by the bank’s vault and need an additional key or code to be accessed. Like the vault key, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security to prevent unauthorized account access. In general, account authentication relies on three types of credentials: something you know (i.e. a password), something you have (i.e. a texted code), or something you are (i.e. your thumb print). As its name implies, two factor authentication requires two of these credentials. Set up two-factor authentication across all of your financial accounts, as well as your email, social media, and any streaming services you use.


5. Implement a Credit Freeze:

Despite the name, a credit freeze doesn’t prevent you from using your existing credit cards or “freeze” your credit score. Instead, a credit freeze simply prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. Credit freezes can be placed for free with each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If you ever do want to apply for credit or open a new account, you can contact the necessary bureau(s) to temporarily “unfreeze” or “thaw” your credit. While this does create an additional step when applying for credit, it pales in comparison to the remediation of fraudulent account openings. Additionally, take time to review your credit report from each credit bureau once per year for free. Check for any incorrect information, especially any accounts you do not recognize.



In an increasingly online world, cyber security is a vital piece of protecting your financial future. If you ever do fall victim to a scam, identity theft, or believe your information has been shared without your permission, visit to understand your best next steps.



This blog post is comprised of publicly available information from the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Information is shared for educational purposes.

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