With National Cyber Security Awareness month coming to a close, we want to make sure you are protecting your online privacy, which includes using your mobile phone.

There’s no arguing that smartphones have changed the way we connect with each other and our world. Friends, photos, finances, and more are all accessible from the palm of your hand. Some thieves just want to steal and sell your smartphone, but the information it contains is often more valuable. This information makes smartphone users one-third more likely to be a victim of identity theft than those who do not own a smartphone (Javelin Strategy & research, “2012 Identity Fraud Industry Report”). Protect yourself and your device with these simple steps:

1. Keep your device safe. Write down your device’s make, model number, serial code, and unique device identification number. This information can be given to police if your device is stolen. When out and about, be aware of your surroundings. If an area feels unsafe, it may be best not to use your device or use it discreetly. Never leave your device visible in an unattended vehicle. Take it with you or lock it in the glove compartment or trunk.

2. Use built-in security features. Establish a password or passcode to restrict access to your device. Doing so can help prevent unwanted usage charges or use of your personal information if the device is stolen. Keep current with updates and patches to your device’s operating system. These updates often include new protections when vulnerabilities in software arise.

3. Back up your data. Just like your home computer, you should back up your phone, either to your computer, an external storage device, or a cloud-based service. Some apps will even back up your files automatically. When selling or trading a phone, reset it to the factory default.

4. Choose apps carefully. Purchase apps from reputable vendors, and install them through your device’s app store. Read all permissions before downloading and be cautious of any app that requests to make phone calls, connect to the Internet, or reveal your identity and location. For mobile banking, seek out your financial institution’s official app.

5. Install anti-theft apps. Consider security software recommended by your carrier or phone manufacturer, such as Find My iPhone®, that can help in the event that your phone is lost or stolen. These apps can locate, lock, or even wipe sensitive data from your device remotely using any computer. Some phones come pre-loaded with anti-theft apps, and legislation has been introduced in some states and nationally to require new smartphones to be sold with a preloaded “kill switch” that allows users to remotely disable their phones.

In the event of theft:

If your device is lost or stolen, change the login credentials to any online accounts you have access to through your mobile device. If you have installed anti-theft software on your device, you may be able to use it to locate your phone or wipe the data remotely. Don’t attempt to retrieve a stolen phone yourself. Always report the theft to your local authorities as well as your wireless carrier. Finally, if you’ve purchased insurance on your mobile device, find out what your plan covers in case a replacement is necessary.

We are always working to ensure our online and mobile banking services are safe. With Navy Federal, you can rest assured that your account information is protected and your mobile banking transactions are secure.

Protecting Your Smartphone From Fraud

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