As the use of smartphones continues to increase, con artists are finding ways to access personal information. "Smartphone security is going to become even more important," says Nikki Fiorentino, Director of Communications at the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Protect your smartphone — and the information that's transmitted over it — with these security pointers:
- Create a complex password. Your first line of defense is a strong password, one that combines letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Seek backup/wiping services. Not having these services is one of the biggest mistakes smartphone users make, says Fiorentino, adding that they're easy to obtain through the phone's manufacturer or your wireless provider. A backup program sends data on your phone to a secure server where you can retrieve it. A wiping program erases information from your phone if it is lost or stolen.
- Install security software. Treat your smartphone like you would your home computer, Fiorentino says. Install security software that contains an antivirus, and be diligent about downloading updates as they're available.
- Take action. If your phone is missing, call your carrier as soon as possible to report that it's been lost or stolen, and have your data wiped. If you think you're a victim of identity theft, Fiorentino advises taking these three steps:
- Place a 90-day fraud alert on credit reports
- File a police report
- File a fraud affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission
The Identity Theft Resource Center offers more tips on smartphone security.