We love our mobile devices. They have become so much a part of our daily lives that some of us feel lost without them. We use them to communicate with loved ones, stay caught up on social media, and conduct business transactions such as paying bills, online banking and shopping. Over the years, mobile devices have evolved into digital personal assistants, ready to serve our every need.
To facilitate all this functionality, many of us load our mobile devices with our personal information: credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers, home address and so on. This convenience comes with a cost: sensitive data on mobile devices is always at risk of getting into the wrong hands.
Identity thieves are working hard at every turn to gain access to your personal information for financial gain, and mobile devices give them one more way to get it. No device is 100 percent safe, but here are some things you can do to protect your mobile device from identity theft:
- Create a password for your device – A strong and secure password can keep strangers from unlocking your phone and accessing your data. Also set the phone to automatically lock when it hasn’t been used for a specified period of time.
- Avoid free public Wi-Fi Networks – Free Wi-Fi is convenient, but it can put your data at risk. Free, unsecured, public Wi-Fi hotspots can give nearby hackers the opportunity to access information on your device and steal your data.
- Only shop on secure websites – A secure website will have an “s” in the “https://” address, but you should still be cautious. Identity thieves are savvy enough to create fake sites with a similar look and feel just to capture your payment information.
- Keep your operating system and apps up-to-date – These updates help protect your mobile device because they feature the latest security enhancements.
If your personal, financial or account information gets lost or stolen, contact your bank or credit card company and establish a fraud alert. Routinely check your bank and other account statements for unusual activity, and consider purchasing identity theft protection; it’s inexpensive and can really come in handy if, despite your best efforts, the thieves get what they’re after.
The GEICO Insurance Agency can help you get an identity theft protection plan for as little as $7.99 a month to help keep your identity safe and protect your credit against identity thieves.
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By Tony Blue