Protecting your smartphone against identity theft

Over the past decade, consumers have increasingly transitioned to mobile phones for shopping, banking, and even socializing. Pew Research reports a whopping 96% of Americans now have some sort of cellphone with 81% of them using smartphones. With modern on the go lifestyles, mobile technology fits in nicely. While significantly convenient, one of its drawbacks is the ways it opens consumers up to a greater risk of identity theft. As people become more dependent on their phones, cybercriminals have shifted their targets to mobile because of the lucrative, albeit illicit, opportunities they find.

In 2018, 680,000 people in the U.S. fell victim to mobile phone takeovers. To better protect yourself, take action to protect your smartphone against identity theft.

Be careful with downloads

While Apple and Google screen the apps uploaded to their online app stores and remove any found to contain malware, unfortunately, sometimes these rogue apps slip through. When choosing an app, always vet it out before downloading it to your phone. Many apps are safe, but there are some free ones that come loaded with malware.

Keep software updated

Like any other device, you should always run the latest version of apps and update your phone’s operating system. Developers constantly update mobile software to ensure any bugs or vulnerabilities are fixed.

Be cautious with public wi-fi

Chances are, almost everywhere you go you’ll find public wi-fi. While super convenient and a data saver, using public wi-fi does open your phone up to additional risks. Not to mention, cybercriminals often create rogue wi-fi areas giving them a similar name to a business or organization in the vicinity. Always know where and who you’re connecting to and use a VPN if you plan to use public wi-fi. Also, never access sensitive information when on public wi-fi because this significantly increases your risk of ID theft.

Aside from these three methods of protecting your smartphone, you can take these additional precautions as well:

  • Set your phone to lock after a few seconds and create a strong password to open it
  • Employ two-step authentication and/or biometric access
  • Enable your phone to be remotely wiped of data in the event your device is lost or stolen
  • Turn off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it
  • Be careful about clicking on links received in text or email
  • Uninstall any unnecessary apps so fewer entities are collecting your data

Remember, nothing is infallible, but if you initiate a variety of measures to protect your smartphone, it’ll go a long way towards protecting yourself from identity theft. Victims of ID theft often end up spending days, weeks, or months repairing the damage. Not to mention, it can cost a lot of money or ruin your credit standing.

If you find yourself a victim of identity theft and/or otherwise need to improve your credit standing, PRBC can help get you back on track. Our alternative credit score can help you rebuild your credit simply by paying your usual monthly expenses. To learn more about how our alternative credit score process works, contact us today.

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