Most of us are unbelievably reliant on our mobile devices. Our smartphones have replaced diaries, wallets, cameras, and gaming devices. We visit our banks and transact through mobile apps. We store all our files in the cloud and can access them from anywhere via our phones and tablets. Our insurance documents, travel tickets, and reservations are all accessed via our phones. We use them to store our precious photos and listen to music and podcasts. With a decent internet connection, we can stream live sports events or films and cast them on larger screens if we choose to.
However, many people are remarkably careless with their phones and do not understand how valuable they are to hackers and scammers. We might cover them on our household insurance, but that is only the physical phone. What fraudsters are really after is the data your phone contains. With access to that, they can not only defraud you of money but also steal your identity. A few simple steps ensure that your phone and identity are safe.
Make Sure Your Phone Is Locked
If your phone is stolen, an unlocked phone will allow the thief complete access to your information. So, make sure you have a lock on your screen. Newer phones have facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, but older phones can be secured with a passcode or pattern. If facial recognition fails for any reason, such as wearing dark glasses or a facemask for public transport due to Covid 19, your code is needed as a backup.
When setting up a lock screen, you can decide how long the phone can be idle before it locks itself. Naturally, you should choose the shortest possible time, giving you automatic protection. It also has the added advantage of saving you battery time, as the screen will go dark.
Set Secure Passwords
For every app and website you visit, ensure you have individual and unique passwords. Most devices will now offer to create a secure one for you, and you can save this to your password keeper. In addition, with most apps like PayPal and eBay, you can set your phone up so that you are the password. This works off biometric data, and you just have to put your face in the oval on the screen.
Avoid Public Unsecured Networks
It can be tempting to save on your data bundle by joining public WIFI networks. That is fine for streaming content or listening to music, but you should never enter personal data on a public network. Do not use these for any online banking or site that involves payment information. You should always use your mobile data for anything transactional.
Only visit trusted sites
There are plenty of phishing sites out there that are set up just to collect your data or scam you. They look legitimate enough but are anything but genuine. The main point to remember is only to visit HTTPS and not HTTP sites if you are using your web browser. Wherever possible, access services through the company’s mobile app. Only download apps from reputable sites like the App Store for Apple phones or Google Play Store.
Do not be tempted to click on links for services that appear to be too good to be true. They are. Before using a service provider for the first time, check them out via a review site. You could check out something like Trustpilot for goods and services or Google reviews for a general overview. Some industries have excellent third-party review sites. For example, if you are thinking of having a flutter, you can find reviews of the best mobile casinos on Time2play. Following their advice will ensure that where you are playing is legal and safe.
Keep Your Operating Software Up to Date
Sometimes it can seem a bit annoying that your phone wants to update the OS again, but this is one of the best ways to keep you safe. Updates protect iOS and Android phones from any glitches and cyber threats that have been discovered. The aim is always to stay one step ahead of the crooks, and they are constantly innovating new scams.
Do Not Respond to Automated Calls and Texts
Many scams involve you receiving calls and texts allegedly from reputable online stores and delivery companies saying there is a problem with your account or a delivery fee to pay. Do not respond and never give out details. You can always check online for up-to-date scams and alerts.
Encrypt Your Data and Back Up Your Files
To ensure that you do not lose precious memories or documents, buy an inexpensive storage plan with Dropbox or iCloud storage, and be sure that everything is saved to the cloud. Then you can access everything from everywhere. By storing files on the cloud, you also do not use up your device’s memory. Next, check your settings to ensure data encryption is switched on. On iPhone, you have to check that ‘Data Protection is enabled.’ For Android, go to Security and confirm the phone has eighty percent charge to ‘Encrypt Phone.’
Finally, use encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal for calls and chats. These services also automatically create encrypted backups.