Identity theft has been an ongoing problem for consumers for decades. Often going hand-in-hand with identity theft is credit card fraud, both of which can have significant and devastating effects on your personal finances. When a thief gets their hands on your personal information, it can start a domino affect causing problems in all areas of your personal and financial life. In the past, the biggest concern was relaying information via paper documents. It was (and still is) recommended that bank and credit card statements as well as receipts be securely kept and shredded before discarding. Next came the Internet, where information that was supposed to be private became accessible to hackers. Now we are dealing with cell phones and the old problem takes on a new twist.
Technology makes us vulnerable
Cell phones, once considered a luxury item are now in the pockets and purses of almost every man, woman and child. No longer used for just making and receiving calls, a whole new era of smartphones are now taking the place of mobile devices with much simpler technology. For all intends and purposes, many smartphone users are basically carrying with them, a mini computer. For this reason identity theft is a growing concern among smartphone users.
Be smart with your smartphone
Smartphone users are being forced to up the game when it comes to protecting themselves from identity theft. Think for a moment just how much information can be stored on a smartphone. Should this device fall into the wrong hands, the thief could have access to your bank information, credit card information as well as personal information from social network sites. There is so much data stored on smartphones to make our lives easier, with the end result being a device that is much more valuable to a thief than even your wallet. Smartphone users are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the security settings on their phones and use them. Think twice about using unsecured wi-fi networks which are easily accessed by hackers. In addition, pay close attention to which websites you visit, especially for mobile banking as fake sites can be set up with one or more letters transposed in the hopes you land there by accident. Consider buying and installing anti-virus protection to protect your phone from hackers. Many smartphone users also find comfort in subscribing to a “wipe-out” service which erases all the information stored in your phone should it be reported lost or stolen.