Protecting Your Retirement: Understanding the Cybersecurity Risks to Your Financial Future

Retirement should be a time of peace and enjoyment, a period to reap the rewards of decades of hard work. However, today’s digital age has introduced new challenges that can threaten individuals’ financial security. Cyber threats, particularly those targeting individuals close to or in retirement, are on the rise, with investment scams, phishing schemes aimed at pension funds, and fraud attempts on retirement accounts becoming increasingly common. Speaking with your financial advisor to help you understand and take proactive steps to mitigate these risks is crucial in helping safeguard your financial future.

Recognizing the Threats

Investment Scams: These often appear as unsolicited offers, promising high returns with little to no risk. Scammers typically use persuasive tactics to lure you into transferring your hard-earned money into fraudulent investment accounts.

Phishing Schemes: Cybercriminals use phishing emails to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials to banking or investment accounts. These emails often mimic legitimate communications from your financial advisor but contain links to fake websites designed to steal your information.

Fraud Attempts on Retirement Accounts: Hackers attempt to gain unauthorized access to retirement accounts through various means, including malware, social engineering, and exploiting weak passwords. Once inside, they can steal your funds or personal information.

Strengthening Your Defenses

Stay Informed: Knowledge is your first line of defense. Your financial advisor is a great resource to help protect your accounts from cybersecurity attacks. Be aware of the latest cyber threats and the common tactics used by scammers.

Use Cybersecurity Tools: Ask your financial advisor about new technology offered to protect your financial information. Use reputable antivirus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce the risk of malware and phishing attacks. Ensure that all software, especially your operating system and security tools, are up to date.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA on all financial accounts that offer it. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a text message code, in addition to your password.

Secure Your Home Network: Use a strong, unique password for your Wi-Fi network and router. Ask your financial advisor to set you up with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing financial accounts online, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Regularly Monitor Accounts: Securely check your bank and retirement accounts regularly for any unauthorized transactions or changes. Early detection of suspicious activity can be critical in preventing significant financial loss.

Involve your Financial Advisor: Oftentimes, the hardest part of combating cybersecurity attacks is having the time, knowledge, and resources to protect your sensitive data. Rest assured, with Merit Financial Advisors, you are not alone. Your Merit financial advisor has the tools to monitor and protect your accounts to help protect your family against fraudulent activity and assist in repairing any potential damage.

Be Skeptical: Treat unsolicited investment offers with skepticism. Verify the legitimacy of any company or offer by reaching out to your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.


The digital world brings with it a magnitude of cybersecurity risks that can threaten pre- or post-retirees’ financial stability. By understanding these risks and working with your financial advisor to adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Remember, your first line of defense starts with having conversations with your financial advisor on tools offered to help secure your accounts.

Merit Financial Advisors can create a personal layered digital security structure for your family. Contact your Merit financial advisor today to evaluate your risks and set up protection software for your accounts.

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Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Merit Financial Group, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Merit Financial Group, LLC and Merit Financial Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial.