12 Tips on Protecting Your Mobile Device

By: The Farmers Bank

Aren’t you the smart one! You’ve been out shopping all day and almost all of your Christmas shopping is done! Amazing!!! I will NEVER be that person. I am always shopping at the last minute. The 24 hour drug store clerks know me by my first name. But I am proud (although a little irritated) that you are finished shopping and can now just sit at home in front of the fire, sipping on hot chocolate with marshmallows and relax. Christmas is done and it isn’t even time for Thanksgiving!

The last time I showed up at the big mall at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, the only items I carried were my telephone with my driver’s license and credit card stored neatly in my pocket. It left my hands free to hold more gifts for my loved one (and a few I slipped in for myself). Shopping, whether in the stores or online is so much easier using your mobile device? Convenient access to your email, social media and bank makes life great.

Unfortunately, as convenient as it is for us to use our mobile devices, it also provides the same easy access for criminals.  There are so many ways for a criminal to get your information and we tend to be a little more lax around the holidays (you know, all that “good will toward men” stuff). So I would suggest that you throw away that mobile device and just stay home. However, if that doesn’t work for you, the American Bankers Association recommends that we follow these simple tips to keep our information – and our money – safe.

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This makes it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions” and delete unused or rarely used apps.
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  • Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren’t very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Finding that ugly sweater for Uncle Jack or the most wanted toy of the year can be a little frustrating when you have been shopping all day, but isn’t it nice to know that at the end of the day you can sit down, put your feet up, have that hot chocolate with marshmallows and not worry about who else is shopping with your information and money? Protect your mobile device today and enjoy the upcoming holidays.

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