Man checking document safety on his smartphone.

Improve your mobile digital document safety

Take steps to strengthen and secure your data if you'll be adding digital ID cards or sensitive edocuments to your smartphone.

Your smartphone is capable of doing so much more than just texting and calling. Using just a smartphone, you can pay for a birthday present, board a plane and get into a concert — all with documents that you store digitally. But while the wallet is quickly going the way of the landline for many people, it's important to think about security risks and mobile digital document safety. Should you really store every document on a smartphone, and for those that you do, what steps can help protect that information?

Be selective with edocuments

Just because you're storing some sensitive information directly on your smartphone doesn't mean you have to store all your sensitive information directly on your smartphone. Think about it in terms of risk/benefit. For example, keeping a digital version of your Social Security card on your mobile device probably isn't a great idea. The benefits are limited (you can and probably have memorized the number), and the risks are great. If identity thieves are able to snag that information, they can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life.

Lock your phone, always

It's highly recommended to always lock your phone. It's one thing to worry about a friend picking up your phone and seeing a text message. It's another to lose your device with payment information floating around in the world, out of your control. Use either a strong passcode or a biometric measure (such as facial recognition) to open your smartphone.

Understand the security measures of online documents

Many digital IDs and documents require a PIN or fingerprint verification for access. That's the case with many of the newer mobile or digital driver's licenses now being tested in about a dozen states. These digital IDs, which cannot be swiped from a wallet or bag, could actually end up being more secure than physical cards thanks to that extra measure of security.

Use an encryption app

If you're storing a digital ID card such as a copy of your passport or driver's license, boost security with an app that enables encrypted document storage.

Enable remote wipe

Most smartphones are now outfitted with a feature that allows you to remotely delete data and highly sensitive documents. Check that yours is turned on; it's typically part of common phone-finder capabilities. Turn on Apple's Find My iPhone or Android's Device Manager so you may track the phone's whereabouts and delete data as soon as possible

Use edocument apps that store info for you

Some digital ID cards or digital information can be stored via a dedicated app so you can access what you need at any time. For example, the State Farm® mobile app offers the ability to access insurance information such as digital insurance ID cards.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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