With tens of millions of people now conducting business via mobile devices, identity thieves have turned to hacking smartphones to steal consumers’ personal information, according to government and industry experts.
The threat has become so pressing that the Federal Trade Commission recently published a Protecting Personal Information brochure, and the FBI has posted a list of Mobile Networking Threats and recommendations for avoiding them.
Even individuals who do not store personal data on their smartphone can be at risk if they are linked to an iPad, laptop or PC, according to experts, because an ID thief may be able to access everything mobile users have stored online or in the cloud, including business documents or a client database.
- All passwords should be a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers; don’t use birthdays, anniversary dates or a pet’s name.
- Don’t share user names or passwords with anyone; and regularly monitor data movement on all bank and credit accounts.
- Keep your mobile devices locked when not in use.
Above all, do not leave mobile devices unattended in any public place or in a vehicle. It just takes a few seconds for a thief to seize that opportunity.