Is Your Smart Phone a Safe Phone?

smartphone password 150x150 Is Your Smart Phone a Safe Phone?When I first began raising rescued dogs in the early 1980s, the saying was that “a dumb dog is a good dog.” By the time a dumb dog figures out you’ve gone to town, for example, you’re already back. A smart dog on the other hand, like the German Shepherd puppies I prefer, is intelligent enough to exploit your absence by getting into everything—the garbage, the shoes, the mail; chew, chew, chew.

Now a new study suggests that it might be just as well if your smart phone…well…were a little less smart. According to blogger Ben DeMeter at Credit Card Assist, an independent research firm found that you may want to think twice about putting credit card information on your  phone. Why?

“There were about 12 million cases of identity theft in America this past year,” DeMeter says. Javelin Research and Strategy cites large data breaches at major corporations and our increasing reliance on smart phones as contributing to the thirteen percent increase in fraud since 2010.

“According to Javelin’s research, 32% of all smart phone users don’t have the most current version of their operating system, 62% don’t use a password to protect their home screens and 32% save login information on their phones.

“When you consider the amount of personal information Americans upload to social networks…this is some seriously dangerous behavior,” DeMeter says.

” All of these platforms can be accessed through a smart phone, and they provide more than enough data for a thief to sign up for numerous credit cards in a victim’s name. According to Fiserv fraud analyst Mike Urban, such carelessness is an invitation for theft. ‘You don’t leave your money lying on a table,’ he says. ‘You don’t want to leave your important information out there.’”

You know how you’re working harder in this economy to stay aloat, despite rising gas prices and food costs? Well, guess what? Scammers and hackers are doing more and more crime in order to get the same return. While banks and merchants strengthen their firewalls, lazy criminals turn to preying directly on consumers.

“It’s easy to see how having your credit card information in your phone would make things much worse,” DeMeter says. Even with passwords protecting everything, a stolen phone can be jailbroken, its core operating files accessed by a computer.”

Still find it convenient to keep your money in your phone? Take the following steps to protect your data:

  • Password-protect everything, preferably with unique passwords for each service.
  • Don’t share data over public Wi-Fi networks
  • Be sure all the apps you download come from legitimate vendors.
  • Start with Trust when dealing with businesses and companies you’ve never heard of by researching them at www.bbb.org.

And remember – although your liability is limited to $50 for fraudulent credit card charges, an identity thief can create a hassle that haunts you for years to come. Better to avoid that in the first place.

Read more about smart phones and ID theft here:

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.