According to a Consumer Reports survey, 40 percent of smartphone users don’t take minimal precautions such as using a screen lock password or shredding cell phone records. Sadly, many smartphone users aren’t aware of the identity theft dangers specific to these powerful devices. So what actions can you take to protect yourself?
What’s at Risk on Your Phone?
In general, we aren’t trained to think of a smartphone as a computer, but chances are that you use yours like you use a computer or mobile tablet. You enter contact information for yourself and friends, access all your social networks and emails, and might even use your phone to make payments, transfer PayPal funds, or access bank accounts.
If your phone is compromised or stolen, identity thieves may gain access to:
All of your personally identifiable information, such as full name, DOB, home address, and social security numbers.
Your bank and credit accounts.
Your list of friends and family.
A host of information about your daily work and social habits.
A compromised phone doesn’t just put your identity at risk — it could put your property or personal safety at risk.
Protecting Your Cell Phone Records
Although no one can achieve 100 percent protection in the connected world of today, you can take small steps to protect your identity. All smartphones allow you to set a password at the lock screen. Use this feature to keep people from quickly accessing your information. Be selective about the apps you download, and don’t download any you don’t really need. Each time you activate an app, you share information with a third-party, potentially exposing your data. Do download a tracking or location app that lets you find your phone if its lost or stolen.
Protect your personal information and mobile account by disposing of paper cell phone records via professional shredding. Identity thieves search for these records and use information to compromise your accounts or find out more about you. By shredding all paper records with account data you reduce your identity theft exposure.
How do you protect your cell phone records?