As we become a more mobile society, many of us are interested in taking everything with us. This includes email, contact information, access to the office and schedules. We even like to do our banking and investing on the go. Smart phones have made it possible for us to perform almost any function involving the exchange of information from just about anywhere. And, while mobile banking can be convenient, it is important to be careful. Your smart phone is vulnerable — and so is your personal information.
Protect Your Personal Financial Information on Your Smart Phone
If you use your phone for banking, it is a good idea to take some precautions. Remember that your smart phone is a lot like a computer. Your phone can catch viruses and be infected with spyware. Additionally, you can find yourself providing personal information to phishers via cell phone. Here are some things to do to protect yourself when banking or investing with your phone:
- Avoid public Wi-Fi: It seems ideal, but public Wi-Fi is not your friend when it comes to secure transactions. If you are inputting passwords, conducting business or checking your bank account, you might be unpleasantly surprised. There are those who use public Wi-Fi to capture your information as you enter it. Instead, use only secure networks to conduct these functions, and protect your wi-fi connection.
- Watch out for apps: You need to be careful of the money apps and software you download to your phone. Sometimes, when you download apps, you are providing certain permissions for access to your phone and the personal information it contains. This can include Trojan programs from those with malicious intent. On top of that, apps from sketchy sources can be spyware. Be sure to vet your apps before downloading them to your phone.
- Consider security: Just as you should be sure that you are on a secure site (look for the “s” at the end of the “http” portion of the URL or for the “lock” symbol) on your computer at home, you want to be sure that you have similar security when banking on your cell phone. Make sure you are at your bank's official web site, or using your bank's official app, and make sure you are on a secure portion of the site, before conducting your business.
- Security software: If you are really worried about the situation, you can actually install security software on your smart phone. While you may not necessarily want the kind that block viruses and detects malware, you might want to consider locking software. There are programs that allow you to lock your phone from a distance if it is lost or stolen. If your phone stores a lot of sensitive information, you might want to be able to disable it in the event that it falls into the wrong hands.
We live in a society that is more connected than ever. This provides you with the chance to enjoy greater convenience, but it also comes with increased risks. Protect your personal financial information to reduce the chances that your banking by phone turns into a case of identity theft.