This week is National Consumer Protection Week, a campaign that encourages consumers to take advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions. Nearly every major retail bank has an app for smart devices. As of 2015, over 50% of banking was handled through a smartphone and 30% by tablet. Since those numbers will continue to rise, cybercriminals are targeting those gadgets more frequently. With that in mind, we’d like to remind you of 12 ways that you can protect your mobile device, provided for you by the ABA.
While we implement the highest level of protection on our end of every transaction, it’s also important for consumers to keep safety measures in place on their end to prevent sensitive data from being compromised. It’s easy to forget that your mobile device can be vulnerable, but any device used to connect to the Internet is at risk.
- Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make 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.”
- 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.
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
For more tips and resources on a variety of personal finance topics such as mortgages, credit cards, protecting your money and saving for college, visit aba.com/consumers.