We’re doing more on our smartphones than ever. According to Pew Research, 68% of U.S. adults have smartphones, up from just 35% in 2011. And about a third of us use our smart phone to transfer money, check balances and manage our finances. Convenient? Absolutely, but it also makes users vulnerable to data hacks and the possibility that your personal information could end up in the wrong hands.
Fortunately, if you’re a smartphone user, then there are some simple steps you can take to help keep your information safe.
Add a passcode or Touch ID.
It may take a little more time to open your phone, but it’s well worth the extra precaution in case you’re one of the 5 million Americans that loose or get your phone stolen. For even better protection, adjust the settings so that your phone auto-locks after one minute.
Sign up for a “find my phone” service.
Most cell phone or data providers offer a free service that will allow you to locate your phone using GPS if you can’t find it. You’ll just need to register your device and create a login, then sign into the website if you’re unable to find your phone down the road. (iPhone users: check out Apple’s official website for how you can register all your Apple products for this helpful service.)
Use secured wifi connections.
Save your banking for wifi connections that are non-public and secured. Some phones auto connect to the nearest wifi, consider removing this setting for extra security.
Sign out of apps.
Most apps will automatically sign or log you out after a certain amount of inactivity. For a higher degree of safety, sign out or close the app when you’re finished. That way if your phone does end up in the wrong hands, the thief won’t be able to access your banking information.
Install the latest software.
Cell providers are constantly updating and improving security features. Unfortunately they’re only effective if you choose to install them. When a new upgrade’s available, be sure to download it as soon as possible.