According to a report by Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center, around 46% of American adults are using smartphones. This also means that Smartphone users now outnumber basic mobile phone users in the adult national population in the United States. The report further states that this figure is quite high as compared to 33% in 2011.
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Unfortunately, with the increase in Smartphone usage come increases in the number of incidences of identity theft. According to a report on identity theft in 2012, mobile devices and social media have become the new frontiers for fraud, with around 7% of Smartphone owners victimized.
Also, the report revealed that among Smartphone users, 32% of them do not update to the new operating system when it becomes available, 62% do not use a password to protect their phones, while 32% save their login passwords on their devices. By not using passwords and by saving login information on mobile devices, consumers become easy prey for identity thieves. The risks of credit card frauds with smartphones are becoming a real threat, which is why consumers should consider identity theft protection before it’s too late.
Sure enough, getting your identity stolen along with your personal information can be devastating. On the other hand, it is a good thing to know that there are Identity theft prevention measures that can be done to ensure all information is safe and secure while using a Smartphone. Here are some of them.
Use a password
Some mobile users consider it a hassle to use passwords for their devices. However, setting up a password can ultimately save someone’s personal data in case the phone gets stolen. It is important to take note that your phone may contain sensitive information such as credit card and bank account number so passwords should be difficult to guess.
Do not store login information
For convenience, consumers store their login information on their devices. This enables them to connect directly to websites which require user accounts such as online banking sites and social networking sites. Sure, it can be convenient but some devices, for example, connects all user accounts into a single contact list. This can be very dangerous especially when your phone gets stolen and thieves then gain access to them all.
When selling your phone, reset to factory settings
Some people like to change their mobile devices every now and then just to get a bit of everything available on the market. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. Just don’t forget to reset your device to its factory settings before selling it, thereby erasing all your personal data and information.
If the phone gets stolen, ask the service provider to remotely erase stored data
Contacting the service provider should be the very first thing to do in case a phone gets stolen. This is most important especially when the phone is not equipped with a password. Some thieves steal mobile devices for a quick buck. However, some know what to look for in a mobile device so its best to ask service providers to erase all sensitive information before it falls in the hands of thieves.
Read reviews before installing various mobile applications
Criminals don’t commit ID theft just by stealing someone’s smartphone. Some criminals can be quite sophisticated and use high-tech means to get their victims’ personal information. They tend to create software applications designed for phishing. Phishing is a crime wherein criminals acquire information by leading victims to websites infected with malware.
Some malware can be attached to certain mobile applications like games that consumers have to pay to get full versions. When consumers make online payments, they are led to infected websites disguised as authentic pay sites. Entering your credit card number on one of these sites can be just like giving your identity away.
Installing antivirus software can be helpful in preventing malware from entering your phone’s system. Although some can be available for a fee, there are also some free antivirus programs out there that are worth considering.
At the end of the day, smartphones are still very useful devices. They can be extensions of our very lives. So, when using smartphones avoid becoming a victim and make sure your phone is safe and secure.
Do you know other measures to prevent ID theft? Share them by putting your comments below.
Author Bio:- Amy is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances. She also covers topics on how to prevent identity theft through smartphone that can help technology dependent people protect themselves from identity theft.