Make a Hacker’s Job Hard

Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime: The Third of a Three-Part Series. Read Part One Here and Part Two Here

A hacker may gain control of your computer if your password has been compromised. Often, the hacker will send an email demanding money along with a deadline. You can potentially avoid this stressful situation by taking the following precautions:

  • Create strong, unique passwords for each site and do not reuse passwords. Never use your name, birthday, or other easily identifiable information in your password. Passwords should be a minimum of 14 characters and contain at least one upper and lowercase letter, number, and special character. Consider using a passphrase or another language.
  • Use a password encrypted vault such as Keeper Security or SafePass to store your passwords.
  • Use two-factor authentication for your email account(s) and financial institution(s). This creates an additional level of security beyond your password. For example, each time you log in to your bank you will receive a unique code via a text message. A hacker would need both your password and the text message to access your account(s).
  • If you are hacked and receive an email demanding ransom, do not engage with the hacker. Reach out to an IT professional for help (Geek Squad at Best Buy provides 24/7 support). Hackers will often deposit a new virus on your machine after receiving a ransom payment.

Additionally, you should set-up alerts with your financial institution(s). Most institutions offer several options to help you monitor the activity in your account(s). Read the alerts carefully and contact them quickly if you do not recognize a transaction. Again, do not call any telephone number contained in an email or text. It is best to go to the website and find a telephone number. For credit cards, use the telephone number on the card.

It is also important to remember to protect data contained in your home just like you would protect a piece of jewelry. Keep financial statements and other documents that contain sensitive information such as your social security number stored in a secure location. If you have the ability, scan important documents to a secured encrypted file in the cloud. If you maintain paper documents, lock them in a safe deposit box, secured vault, or cabinet. Your data is an attractive target to a burglar or a household professional.

Last, but not least, please inform us if your personal information is compromised. We are here to help!

At Strategic Wealth Partners, we strive to keep your personal information safe in multiple ways. Please see our previous post, Your Privacy is Important to us – And You!, to learn more about what we do.


Strategic Wealth Partners (‘SWP’) is an SEC registered investment advisor with its principal place of business in the State of Illinois. For additional information about SWP, including fees and services, send for our disclosure brochure as set forth on Form ADV from SWP using the contact information herein. Please read the disclosure brochure carefully before you invest or send money (

Ignoring the Noise and Staying the Course:  A Recipe for Success
In today’s fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in the noise of predictions, forecasts, and market speculation. It's tempting to listen and react to predictions, but successful investing and sound financial planning involve tuning out the noise and taking a more disciplined, strategic approach.
Read More
Financial Planning
Nurturing Wealth Across Generations: A Guide to Multi-Generational Wealth Planning
Often referred to as the “Great Wealth Transfer,” studies show that roughly $84 trillion in assets amassed by baby boomers will change hands over the next 20 years. When examined more closely, a third of today’s high-net-worth individuals inherited their wealth.  According to the UBS Billionaire Ambitions Report, in 2023, more new billionaires were created by inherited wealth rather than entrepreneurship. This trend looks to continue in the years to come for many wealthy families (not just billionaires).
Read More
Financial Planning
The Benefits of Being a Co-Trustee on Your Parents or Loved Ones Accounts
As we watch our parents (or any other loved one) make that gradual shift from being totally independent to needing help, there are some steps that can be taken to facilitate family involvement.  Even for those of us who have parents who are 100% capable of managing their affairs, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for an unexpected circumstance. The most common solution for being able to manage our parent’s accounts on their behalf is to have an attorney draft a Power of Attorney (“POA”).  A POA is a legal document that authorizes a person to act on another person’s behalf.  We highly recommend them for everyone 18 years and over, so they can have someone act on their behalf when they are no longer able to make financial or health care decisions.   It creates a fiduciary relationship between the Principal (person who created the document) and the Agent (person named to carry out the instructions).  This is my non-attorney understanding of how it works. 
Read More