Keeping your data safe online is of the utmost importance. Scammers are lurking everywhere. We’ve spoken the past few weeks about how to keep your data securely online, such as financial information, health information, birthdates of yourself or loved ones, passwords (written in the notepad), or even gift lists for holidays. Protecting your mobile device from scammers is no exception. What steps can you take to ensure you won’t be taken advantage of by scammers or hackers on a mobile device? Let’s have a look.

What’s in Your Notepad?

If we’re honest, many of us jot down notes in our mobile device’s notepad and then forget about them without deleting them. You might say these are “modern-day post-it notes” like those we used back in the day, scattered about our computer screen with passwords displayed for the whole world to see. If you are still utilizing this password-keeping method then it’s time to talk! But these notes can be highly damaging, especially if they contain sensitive information. If you store passwords or logins here, they can easily be stolen by anyone who is able to unlock your phone or device. Ponder who has access to your devices? Children? Spouse? Family members? Coworker? Friends? The more people who know your device’s password to unlock it, the more chance you have of sensitive information being accessible. If your mobile device itself is stolen and the thieves are able to unlock it, they’ll see everything you’ve made a note of. Make sure you do not store anything in your notepad that could potentially harm you financially.

Public WiFi

When it comes to public WiFi, you do not want to trust any establishment’s “guest WiFi network” when it comes to making financial transactions. Either complete these transactions at home or use the cell network if you need to. Some IT industry experts suggest “creating a culture of suspicion” around “guest” WiFi. Public WiFi is too easy for hackers to piggyback on and steal your data as the network is unsecured. This is also why you should never “auto-join” any public WiFi, including those found at restaurants, airports, or venues. Who knows who’s watching on these public networks? Better not to connect at all. With our average daily screen time rapidly increasing, forgo your public WiFi time to give your eyes a rest with some screen-free time instead.

Use VPN Protection

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an extra level of security you can use whenever you want to encrypt your data to keep it safe from any outside sources. A VPN is able to encrypt your internet history and your IP address. It disguises your data through encryption, which means your data is only accessible with an encryption key. Hackers cannot read encrypted data without the key, so it is always a good idea to use a VPN whenever possible. Many consumer protection services like Malware Bytes, Norton, and TrendMicro include mobile device security tools with a subscription.

Mobile Devices vs. Computers

There are people who only utilize only mobile devices, conducting all their financial transactions through their mobile devices. If this is you, you’ll want to make sure your phone or tablet has extra measures in place to make it secure. Always use a longer password to unlock your device, and change it regularly. Do not give unlocking privileges to anyone who doesn’t need it, such as a thumbprint or facial recognition. Take extra care in knowing where your device is at all times so that it does not get stolen. If your mobile device has any sensitive information stored on it, keep it with you at all times. By reducing the chance of theft you’ll be able to keep the data on your cell phone or tablet as safe as possible. The risk of theft is never 0%, but the goal is to take action to reduce that risk.

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