Protecting Yourself with Mobile Banking

There’s little doubt that the popularity of smartphones and tablets has meant a huge shift in our daily lives. We’re more connected than ever before, and we have more convenient ways of keeping up with the things we have to do. But the downside to all this technology is that we may have left the door wide open for hackers to steal our personal information.

Mobile banking is a prime example. Whether it’s transferring money from one account to another, checking your balance, actually making a payment electronically at the cash register, or even depositing a check by taking a picture of it with your smartphone’s camera, mobile banking is a great tool and is far more trackable than carrying cash. However, it’s also an easy way for someone with the right tech know-how to steal your data and your money.

One of the most effective ways to protect your mobile bank account is sadly one of the least used consumer behaviors, and that’s using a strong, unique password. But having the password is only the first step. If you’re not logging out of your mobile banking app after each time you use it, you’re leaving yourself unprotected if someone manages to steal your phone, finds it after you’ve lost it, or hacks into it. Of course, if you don’t have a separate passcode locking up the entire phone, you’ve handed everything to a thief in the event that it goes missing.

Another key behavior that affects consumers is so widespread because it’s so easy to do. Sending a phishing email that appears to come from your bank or mobile banking app is a simple matter of cutting and pasting your bank’s logo off their website. Getting you to click a link is as simple as telling you that there’s a problem with your account. The whole process requires very little cyber ability but can result in you losing your sensitive information and your money. That’s why you should never click a link in an email unless you were specifically expecting it; if you receive an alarming message concerning one of your accounts, simply delete it and go to the website or app yourself to log in.

There’s another feature to mobile banking, and that’s the ability to pay for a purchase through your smartphone. There are a lot of different mechanisms for this—Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, Loop, and a dozen more—but the end result is that your phone becomes even more valuable. The need to password protect your mobile wallet should be obvious, as is the need to passcode protect your entire phone, but this should also remind you of the importance of activating the “find my phone” option in your handset so you can locate it.

New technology is created literally every day that makes our mobile devices more capable and more useful, but new scams and hacking attempts are created at practically the same speed. Tech-savvy users don’t need to fear the harm that can be done with their time-saving devices, but they do need to be aware of the threats and know how to take action to avoid them.

Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.

 

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