Using a smartphone is a convenient way to check e-mail, browse the Web, bank online and more. It is a mini-computer in the palm of your hand. With this convenience though comes an increased need to protect yourself from fraud.
Since smartphones are similar to computers, they have the same risks associated with them such as viruses, malware and hacking. In addition, smartphones often utilize publicly available wireless networks, like coffee shops, which may or may not be secure. If this connection is unsecure, hackers can obtain remote access or spy on a user's transactions.
Public Wi-Fi hot spots are easy targets for fraudsters. They can "hijack" the network and create a new one with a very similar name. Then when people try to access the network, they may unsuspectingly connect to the fraudulent system and the hacker can gather sensitive information about those logged on. An even simpler method fraudsters may use is "shoulder surfing" where they simply physically watch (over your shoulder, in a mirror, etc.) the information you are inputting in to your phone.
Smartphones are also subject to the same schemes as other phones such as vishing (voice phishing). However, they are more likely to be affected by text message and e-mail phishing scams due to their ability to access the Internet. Phishing is an attempt to collect personal information by enticing the user to provide it freely under the pretext of verification or security concerns.
It is important that smartphone users protect themselves using some simple steps:
- When banking or accessing other sensitive information via your smartphone, be sure you are using a secure Internet connection in a private location.
- Use and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on your smartphone, just as you would on your computer.
- Set your bluetooth to the highest security setting available, and for extra security, disable your phone's bluetooth function when you aren't using it.
- Use your phone's built-in security features by setting a PIN or password to prevent unauthorized access if your phone is lost or stolen.
- Install any required upgrades from your wireless carrier and pay attention to system updates.
- Download applications, "apps," only from trusted sources and known brand names.
- Utilize additional security measures that some Internet based companies offer. For example, Google requires you to enter a verification code, in addition to a password, to access their programs.
- If you get a suspicious text message or e-mail, do not respond or click on any links. Instead, call the sender using a phone number you trust, such as the one on your statement. Rabobank will never send an unsolicited text message to you.
- If you purchase a used or refurbished phone, check it for pre-loaded malware or viruses that can be used to steal your data.
You should take immediate action with Rabobank and other parties if you think the security of your personal and/or account information may have been compromised.