Nowadays identity fraud thieves are increasingly targeting smartphones as a gateway to grabbing consumers’ private financial data.
If you don’t act to safeguard your smartphone from I.D. thieves, you could be taking a big risk, but some preparation and a little bit of help from financial services companies are good places to start protecting yourself.
According to a report from Javelin Research, about 8.1 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2010 to the tune of $37 billion. The average cost per consumer was $631.
“The longer identity fraud goes undetected, the more expensive and difficult to resolve it tends to be for the consumer. Therefore, it is vital for consumers to monitor their accounts frequently and to partner with their financial institutions to help prevent, detect and resolve fraud,” Javelin says in its report. “About half of identity frauds are detected by consumers, and half are detected by third parties (45% vs. 55%).”
Mobile banking is on the rise, and that means a new place for fraudsters to get at peoples’ financial data.
With smartphone use growing by 40% last year from 2010, the potential for increased identity theft activity will rise too.
To guard personal data on your smartphone:
In general, experts say you should also be cautious about downloading free apps, which may come from disreputable sources. You’re giving away private data to strangers every time you install one, and you have no way of knowing whether the app’s publisher is legit or not. Always check the app’s security features before pressing the button. If they don’t offer any, don’t download the app.
Protecting the personal data inside your smartphone should be priority one, but combine it with a close monitoring of your financial accounts. If you let things slide, your next call may be to your bank’s claim processing service.