The following post comes from the America Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

By Katie Bryan
America Saves Communications Manager

Consumers with smartphones spend a lot of time with their device of choice. Now, with so many flashy websites and applications (apps), it’s just as easy to spend or move a lot of money through our phones.  But are you taking steps to protect your identity through your Smartphone? The Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs developed tips to help you protect your identity at a time when many of us are using our phones to do our banking, pay our bills, or buy products with the click of a button.  Here are 10 tips from Consumer Affairs on avoiding identity theft on your smartphone:

 

1. If you’re going to shop or bank online, use a secure network.

Free WiFi access points are helpful for everyday use, but your information is always less safe on a public network.

2. Lock your phone.

Around 25 percent of consumers will lose their phone. Yes, punching in or swiping your finger over a few digits takes a second or two from your day, but if (or when) you lose your phone at least the front door to your information will be locked.

3. Set up a voicemail password.

Even if you’re wise with information, someone calling you might not be. Keep your conversations private by protecting your voicemail.

4. If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your carrier immediately.

They can quickly cut off your service and might be able to locate your phone.

5. Get an app that deletes your phone’s information remotely.

Even with a lock in place, criminals can often find a way to get your information. There are many apps available that can erase most of the information from your phone. But never download apps from unknown sources. Make sure you buy from legitimate companies.

6. Never store financial information on your cell phone, especially logins, passwords or account numbers.


This is especially true if you use a mobile banking app. If you have all of your information saved so you can use it quickly, and you lose your phone, someone else can do the same. Never save your account numbers, Social Security number, or PIN numbers on your phone.

7. Never text message any financial information.

Text messages are not secure in general. Plus, your texts are saved on your phone. One look at your text message logs and your information is gone.

8. Watch for traps from unknown email links or unfamiliar callers.

Never click on an email link if you’re not certain who it’s from. Similarly, don’t give out personal information over the phone unless you’re certain who’s on the line. Thieves even use caller ID spoofing, where your phone might show a call is from someone you know when in fact it’s from a stranger. They might use your false sense of security and trick you into giving up your information.

9. Check your accounts often for suspicious activity.

Every few days check your balances. Make sure you recognize every transaction. Call your bank or credit card company right away if anything is out of order.

10. Teach your kids.

Young people are comfortable sharing information through their phones. It’s their way of life. However, this simply cannot include financial information. When they get their first bank account or credit card, make sure they know the dangers.

For more information on consumer topics visit http://dca.lacounty.gov and follow them on twitter.

Additional articles:
How to Avoid Getting Caught in a Military-Targeted Scam
The CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs: an Important Resource for Military Families

 

 

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | April 18, 2014

    Don't fall prey to the #payday #loan trap! Read these tips for alternate options http://ow.ly/vTKTh

Saver Stories View all »

Making Saving Automatic Leads to Personal Success

Written by Lila Quintiliani | May 27, 2020

Ryan’s savings journey started when he was an active duty airman. Frequent deployments and temporary duty assignments gave him the opportunity to save. By the time he transitioned out of active duty, he had built up a healthy rainy-day fund and had started to aggressively save for retirement.

Read more...

When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

Read more...

From Shopaholic to Saver

Written by Jackie Toops | January 13, 2021

Many of us spend too much money on things we don’t need, but we don’t always know why. It’s easy to get a quick fix from retail therapy, but before we know it, our hard-earned money is gone. Oftentimes, when we engage in a “shopaholic” lifestyle or sporadic shopping sprees, we still experience feelings of emptiness, but to make it worse, we now have debt, too.

Khanmany was a shopaholic who turned everything around. She is active duty Navy and shares, “I was spending too much on things I didn't need. I was going shopping for no reason and was trying to fill a void. I was running up every credit card I owned to include Victoria's Secret, Military Star, Navy Federal, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, Macy's, USAA, and was only paying the minimum payments.”

Read more...