For the past few years, some of the most popular gifts of the holiday season have been electronics – specifically, smartphones. The best parts of owning newer smartphones are the access it provides to the web and productivity apps to make everyday tasks easier. But the convenience of having access to your personal and financial information comes with added risks, specifically as it relates to scammers and phishing schemes. You can greatly mitigate those risks by following the tips below to keep your personal information safe while still having all the access you’d like on your new mobile device.
Lock It Up
It may seem all to simple, but it’s surprising how few people will take the time to setup a simple screen lock on their new phone or tablet. Setting a numeric password or trace pattern on your device’s lock screen makes it extra difficult for your device to be accessed in the event that it’s stolen or misplaced. Without a lock screen password any and everyone can access your phone and all the information it holds.
Turn Off Bluetooth
One of the benefits of today’s mobile devices is connectivity to household items and vehicles through Bluetooth. However, that ease of connection means that your device is continually searching for something to connect to, and scammers know that as well. Turning off Bluetooth when you know you’re not going to be connecting to any other devices can keep you safe from thieves looking to pirate your information, and it saves your batter as well.
Many of today’s mobile devices come equipped with safeguards in the event your devices is stolen or hijacked. Taking the five to ten minutes to activate safety features like remote access and/or remote wiping capabilities on your device can serve as an important, last ditch effort in protecting any personal or financial information stored on a mobile device that’s no longer under your control.
Monitor Any Apps
There’s an app for almost anything under the sun. Ride sharing, mobile banking, music streaming services, online shopping – all of these apps will often give you the option to store data like credit or debit card numbers, banking account numbers and addresses in an effort to make your use of the app easier. While storing those pieces of information can definitely make using the apps easier, it can also leave that data vulnerable to potential hackers. Keeping track of the permissions you give to various apps on your phone, and not allowing any that seem questionable, can help to keep your information safe.
While it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality when it comes to using a mobile device you can definitely plan ahead to mitigate any foreseeable issues. Setting a lock screen password, turning off Bluetooth when it’s not in use, and taking time to monitor your apps and setup remote access or deletion are all great ways to keep your information safe, but the best safeguard is your own intuition. If something just doesn’t seem right or seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
For more information about how to keep you personal and financial information safe online and on mobile devices, see our posts about protecting against financial fraud online, protecting your finances online, and how to safely sell through auction websites like ebay.