Smartphone use continues to increase. More than one third of Americans have dropped landlines and only use mobiles. It is very possible that within the next 10 years, the landline will be obsolete and we will all be wireless.
And when there’s a major transition in technology, the newness of it all creates a perfect storm for scammers to attack the new systems. Hackers are creating scams and viruses that are designed to spy on and collect our data the same way it’s done on a PC.
(Keep in mind that what makes smartphones smart is the fact they are nothing less than small computers with the same power and reach as desktops or laptops. The only difference is they fit in your pocket.)
It is as essential to protect your mobile as it is to protect your PC. You need to make sure you protect yourself, as our mobile devices are our most personal of personal computers. Here are some things you should do to protect yourself:
- Use a PIN code and set it to lock your device after one minute.
- Download apps only from reputable app stores, and review the app permissions to make sure the app isn’t sharing more information than you’d prefer.
- Don’t store sensitive information on your phone, like user names and passwords, and log out of apps that provide access to personal information.
- If you use online banking and shopping sites, always log out and de-select any options to keep you logged in or your password saved.
- Don’t access critical websites sites when using free WiFi connections unless you are using a virtual private network (VPN) application.
- Review your mobile carrier accounts and app store accounts to check for any suspicious charges. If you do see charges you have not made, contact your service provider and credit card provider immediately.
- Never respond to text, email or voicemail messages with personal information like credit card numbers or passwords.
- Never click on a link in an email, text, social networking site or message from someone you do not know (or, in some cases, someone who
poses as someone you know).