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Is Your Cell Phone Putting You At Risk?

Is Your Cell Phone Putting You At Risk? - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Is Your Cell Phone Putting You At Risk?

As the use of new technologies like smartphones and tablets increase, the risk of identity theft related to those devices increases as well.  The Consumerist reports that according to the recently released Identity Theft Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, 7% of identity theft victims last year were smartphone owners, which is significantly higher than the rate for the general public.  Therefore, it appears that smartphone users are not doing enough to protect their phone.

Because cell phones have become less like phones and more like computers, they tend to store more personal information.  That information can include: bank account information, passwords to email accounts, credit card information, and more.  According to a NY Times article, some hackers even have the ability to see your text messages, take pictures with your cell phone, listen to your calls and can even find you through your phone’s GPS.  Nervous yet?

Well, never fear, your BBB has some tips to protect the information contained on your cell phone:

  1. Install security software that detects and removes malware
  2. Consider password protecting your home screen.  If you do so, don’t use a password that could be easily discovered.  See our tips on passwords. Why You Should Get Creative With Your Passwords
  3. Only download apps from trusted sources
  4. When downloading apps, carefully read the permissions that the phone’s operating system will prompt you to review. An app that wants the ability to send text messages and make phone calls might be a Trojan texter or Trojan dialer, which can initiate calls or messages to a fraudulent phone number to add charges to your cell-phone bill.
  5. Never use your smart phone on a public Wi-Fi network to do business involving user names, passwords, or other personal information.
  6. If you are going to bank using your phone, look for the lock symbol on the top bar of your browser window, which indicates a secure “https” site.  See some additional tips on using your phone for banking on our news center.

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.