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Technology certainly has revolutionized the way we live and work, hasn’t it? And no doubt, the same can be said for its impact on how we manage our money, too.
Today, the rapid rise of smartphone technology and mobile banking is again changing the landscape. Studies show that over half of all cell phones in use today are smartphones, which allow users to connect to the Web, download apps, and more. And according to the Federal Reserve, nearly 21 percent of mobile phone users have used mobile banking in the past 12 months, with another 11 percent reporting they’ll “definitely” or “probably” use it in the next year. In fact, Millbury Savings offers its own Mobile Banking service!
Unfortunately, like all the electronic devices before them, smartphones come with their own set of inherent risks for identity theft. In this case, the danger is that the little device in your hand acts like a mini-computer tied in to all of your personal data, which can leave you exposed to potential identity theft if your phone is ever lost or stolen. Here are five ways to protect your phone and personal information.
1. Lock it up
Most phones come with a screen-locking feature that uses a PIN or password. Use at least a 4-digit numeric PIN or 8-character alphanumeric password for heightened security, and avoid using those that are easy to crack (e.g., “1234” or “password”). The same advice goes for your mobile banking password and ID. Choose ones that are tough to guess, and don’t use the same password for multiple applications (Facebook, e-mail, mobile banking, etc.), or you risk having all your information exposed if someone figures out what it is! Finally, don’t share that PIN or password with any caller who claims to be your banker (no reputable institution needs to ask for such information proactively) and don’t respond to texts or e-mails asking you to log into your account or to provide bank account details.
2. Just say no
When your mobile browser offers to remember your login credentials to specific sites, be sure to click “no.” It may take more time to type in your user name and password each time you access a site, but your sensitive data—like your mobile banking account—won’t be readily accessible if your phone falls into the wrong hands.
3. Update it
Be sure to install your phone’s operating system updates as soon as they’re available to close potential holes in security. The same is true with any anti-virus or anti-malware applications on your phone.
4. Be choosy
Be careful about which apps you download. Install only those from providers you trust, or your phone could wind up infected with malware (malicious software) designed to harvest your information.
5. Enlist an app
A mobile security app might be just the thing you need to help keep your data safe. They not only protect your phone against malware, but often come with other security features that you can enable remotely, such as the ability to locate or lock your phone and to wipe or encrypt your personal data.