BBB's Six Tips for Safe Mobile Banking

January 14, 2013

Banks have been promoting the use of mobile phones and other devices for banking for several years now, but what happens if you lose your phone? Can a thief empty your bank account by tapping a smart phone against yours?

With mobile banking being one of the fastest-growing trends in the financial sector, BBB advises consumers to take precautions to keep their money safe, including installing antivirus software on phones. Users should take many of the same precautions they would when banking online with a personal computer.

The Federal Reserve estimates that a third of cell phone users will use mobile banking within the next year. Without taking precautions, many users could be opening themselves up to potential fraud.

BBB advises consumers to:

1. Install antivirus applications on your mobile device to protect yourself from viruses or malware when you download other applications or content.

2. Keep your passwords, personal information and bank account numbers private. Don't share them with anyone unless you initiate the contact and know who you are dealing with with your bank or its mobile application.

3. Don't save passwords, personal identification numbers (PIN), answers to secret questions or account numbers on your device. Make sure you use strong passwords, which include numbers or symbols in addition to letters.

4. Set your phone or other mobile devices to require a password when they are powered up. Never set the device to automatically log in to your bank account.

5. Don't respond to text messages asking for your banking information. Assume that any unsolicited text message is fraud. Your bank will not contact you by sending a text message.

6. Notify your mobile service provider and your bank if your phone is lost or stolen.

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