Device Advice: How to keep your phone safe from fraud
By: Michael LeForce
Smartphones are the millennial’s answer to the disorganized life. You can buy anything with just a few swipes, schedule appointments and store your photos in this one, convenient spot. [You can also manage your accounts, check your balances and deposit checks through USEFCU’s mobile banking app and/or website]. Unfortunately, all of that convenience comes at a price: Your mobile devices pose an inherent risk to your security if they fall into the wrong hands. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your phone and information.
Here are 6 tips for keeping your device safe and secure.
1. Keep your phone locked
If your entire life is on your phone, you run the risk of giving a thief access to your identity if it’s stolen or misplaced. The best way to prevent this from happening is to have a lock on your screen. Opt for a physical lock if possible, such as fingerprint or face recognition. Finally, adjust your phone’s lock settings so the screen automatically locks after the shortest amount of idle time.
2. Choose strong, unique passwords across all your devices and apps
Passwords should be a blend of letters with varied capitalization use, numbers and symbols. Use a different password for each device, app and other online accounts. Also, change up your passwords every six months or so. Don’t store the info for all your passwords in one location on your phone, or have your device “remember” passwords.
3. Browse safely
- Look for the padlock icon and the “s” after the “http” in the URL of each landing page you visit.
- If an alleged representative of reaches out regarding an issue with your account and you’re unsure if it is legit, contact us directly through a secure channel to confirm your suspicions.
- Never share your personally identifiable information (PII) with an unknown contact.
- Don’t store your credit card info in online shopping accounts.
- Keep your security settings current.
- Avoid clicking on pop-up ads or links in emails from unverified senders.
4. Use secure Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi makes you vulnerable to hacking. It’s best not to use public Wi-Fi at all, especially when banking online. To keep your device safe while using public Wi-Fi, connect to a virtual private network (VPN). In addition, be sure to keep your own Wi-Fi locked to avoid having strangers access it.
5. Encrypt your data
Your phone stores loads of your PII, which can make you vulnerable to identity theft. Protect your information by encrypting all sensitive data on your phone. Most phones have encryption settings, which you can enable easily.
6. Install antivirus software on your phone
The same antivirus programs that protect your laptop can also keep your phone secure. Check out security programs for phones, like McAfee or Norton 360. Antivirus software will provide your phone with protection from security breaches and attacks from scammers.
Use the tips outlined here to keep your device safe from fraud.
Your Turn: How do you keep your device secure? Tell us about it in the comments.