With two-thirds of Americans owning a smartphone, it is becoming more important for users to take steps to protect themselves against cell phone fraud and scams. In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the American Bankers Association suggests the following 12 steps to protect the data on your mobile device.
- Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your email, texts and other information if your device is lost or stolen.
- Log out completely and close the app when you finish a mobile banking session.
- Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren’t very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
- Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
- Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
- Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
- Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
- Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
- Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
- Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
- Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.