How to Prevent Cyber Crime: Tips for Your Family

Cybercrime is on the rise. Simple due diligence can make all the difference.

From email to social media to cloud-based storage platforms, digital devices and electronic communication have become a large part of our lives, saving us time and effort and connecting us in new ways. The downside is that the average American family has never been more vulnerable to cybercrime. In fact, more than 15.3 million records were exposed by a data breach in 2019, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Still, a few simple best practices can keep your family safe, says Aimee Chester, Wealth Advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management. “A lot of it still comes down to common sense,” she says, noting a few common pitfalls she warns her clients about.

Think Before You Respond

“The surprise for me is what savvy people do on reflex,” says Chester. She recalls one client, a corporate financial officer, who provided her own personal details and account numbers in an email response to what she thought was a bank inquiry. But it was a phishing scam that created months of headaches. “Banks never ask you for your social security or account information via email,” warns Chester.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

It’s become common to post many details of our personal lives on social media. But making this information available to the public can create its own set of risks. “People who see your profile on social media can figure out where you live, your interests, your children’s names, your pet’s names, your birthday, and use that information to get the answers to your security questions.”

Follow Best Practices

Many people never change the factory-set password for devices, such as Wi-Fi routers, which can be as simple as 12345. Chester recommends regularly updating the passwords of all household digital devices and assigning one family member to manage the changes — but not just anyone. Don’t share your password with anyone — even a friend. Likewise, be sure to use a distinct password for every login you create. Reusing the same password across multiple sites could make it easier for cybercriminals to target you.

Safeguard Paper Documents

In recent years, paper statements have regained popularity as a way to avoid cybercrime, but they aren’t foolproof. People who have service professionals entering their homes need to be careful not to leave these statements unsecured, as pertinent information can be stolen with the snap of a digital camera. Take steps to protect sensitive documents, such as storing them in a locked file cabinet. Chester also recommends utilizing technology like the digital vault through rTrac™, Regions’ wealth planning tool, which allows customers to store and access sensitive financial information in a secure, state-of-the-art digital environment.

Cybercrime can be an unnerving topic to face, but with preventative actions, you can help protect your family and your finances. Learn more about safeguarding your finances against fraud by visiting