Almost 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone and more than 50 percent have smartphones, according to published reports. They also indicate 28 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking.
“Mobile devices are making everyday tasks like banking simpler and easier, and this rise in popularity is making the mobile space more attractive to cybercriminals,” said Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One and RBS Citizens in Ohio.
“The precautions that consumers are accustomed to taking on their computers also should be applied to mobile devices,” he warned.
Mobile banking is a tool banks recommend to lower their costs for attracting customers in their competitive marketplace.
Don’t, but if you must
But mobile banking is not a practice I recommend because identity fraud has escalated in smartphones.
Certainly, bankers are aware of the dangers.
Again, they encourage mobile banking because it’s a source of profits.
“Any device used to connect to the Internet is potentially at risk, so we urge users to follow these basic safety measures to keep their information safe,” Mr. Marblestone added in a press release.
But if you must engage in mobile banking, the American Bankers Association provides this guidance:
1. Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
2. Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
3. Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
4. Use caution when downloading apps. Only download apps from the official stores – App StoreSM and Google PlayTM Store. Third party stores may make it possible for malicious software, worms and viruses to be downloaded. And, beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
5. Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps as soon as they become available. You may also enable automatic app updates on your device to ensure timely acceptance.
6. Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
7. Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re entering sensitive information.
8. Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
9. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
Further, I would add this counsel: Don’t use a mobile browser to access your bank account. It’s best to download your banking app directly from your financial institution’s Web site and avoid fake apps that trick you out of your login and password.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are more security tips:
Who Profits from Android’s Security Issues? Not Users. — A government task force, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a dire warning about malware. In particular, it’s a threat to Android users.
Security — Cyber Criminals Chew up Apple Products, too — For years in terms of security, Windows has been considered inferior to Macs. But no longer thanks to malware security epidemics.
Tips to Prevent Hacking of Your Bluetooth — Bluetooth technology, of course, allows you freedom when talking on your cell phone. But you’ll lose other freedoms if you don’t prevent scammers from exploiting your system via a trend called “bluebugging.”
“If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”