One of the issues that should concern every smartphone owner is that of identity theft. According to the Identity Fraud Report released by Javelin Strategy & Research in 2013, identity fraud claimed 12.6 million victims in 2012.
Smartphone identity theft is a threat that looms large, particularly so since phones contain critical financial information such as credit card details and bank account information. Smartphones also contain important personal information such as email, photos, notes, contacts, messages and so on. That’s why it is important to take the right measures to protect yourself from smartphone identity theft. Here’s how to do it.
Precautions to be Taken Against Smartphone Identity Theft:
One of the ways identity theft is done is by introducing malicious apps that carry malware into the smartphone. Android devices are very popular, but if security is what you’re looking for, you’re better off buying an iPhone.
That’s because Google does not really test the apps too strictly before adding them to Google Play. Some of the apps on Google Play contain malware and can very easily dig into your phone and look up information such as credit card details, bank information and so on.
iOS is a lot better because it is more of a walled-garden strictly regulated by Apple. Apps are put through stringent quality and security checks before being allowed into the iOS App Store. But even so, you cannot be careful enough.
While downloading apps, check if you’re downloading the app from a trusted source. Check the app reviews and rating, this is important. Avoid jail-breaking the phone as this leaves you vulnerable to malware, and to possible hacking and identity theft.
Remember to update the phone’s software and all apps on a regular basis. Check if the developers have released any updates to the apps for fixing bugs or security loopholes, and be sure to download the updated versions. Update the operating system as well.
Next, backup the phone so that if the device gets compromised, you can restore it with your original data.
Smartphone identity thefts are known to occur when people login to their internet banking account or enter personal or billing information when using a free public Wi-Fi. It is ridiculously easy for hackers to snoop on you when you perform such critical tasks on your phone on a free public Wi-Fi system. This is something to guard against.
Some of the things you can do is to protect yourself while using a public Wi-Fi system is to use SSL Security for emails and web browsing. Use a VPN (virtual private network) for browsing on your phone. VPN is a secure way of using your phone where everything you do on the internet is encrypted. Finally, you can secure your browser by always using an https:// URL when surfing the web. This way, you can benefit from a secure connection using SSL security.
It is important that you should always use a password to protect your phone. This way, a stranger cannot gain entry into your phone. Also, lock your SIM card and disable the Bluetooth.
If you have an iPhone, Apple’s Find My iPhone app allows you to track your iPhone or to shut it down if it gets stolen. If you have an Android device, be sure to have installed third-party lost phone tracker apps such as Plan B. Lost phone tracker apps not only help you track your phone, but also erase all the data on it so that the data cannot be accessed by someone who has stolen the device.
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