Identity theft has been a threat to credit worthiness of ordinary and unsuspecting people for decades. Unfortunately, the devastation from that crime is growing as uses of mobile devices escalate.
Whether the victim is an infant, adolescent or a mature adult, don’t let your finances and credit be destroyed. Protect your identity in the mobile world as you do in the terrestrial world.
• Mobile Device Storage
While your service provider knows who you are, where you live and your mobile habits, use of your mobile device as a credit card storage device is not entirely a good idea. If you have a payment app that stores your credit cards and your billing address, more than merchants gain access to that information.
If you use a credit card through Near-Field Communication or NFC software, for instance, your mobile’s signal is transmitted to more than a scanner. Anyone nearby may be able to ‘share’ in its receipt. It should be encrypted, which can deter someone from easily viewing it, but receipt is still possible. It takes only a moment – a mere blink of an eye – to steal a mobile phone. You set it down on a table while you lean to scratch an ankle or dig in a bag. When you sit upright again, your mobile’s gone. Unfortunately, all the information you stored in your device is gone as well.
Thieves know how to counter GPS tracking and shield signals. Apps and provider intervention is possible in many cases, but it’s not always productive in finding your stolen device and find it before your stored data is copied.
• Mobile Surfing
When you log into any web page account – email, banking, service provider, electronic storefront, etc., do so very carefully: Watch viewing angles, screen brightness and crowded conditions. Remember that anyone who can physically see your mobile handset has line of sight and can snap a picture or take a video of your entry and/or your finger positions. Once captured, who’s to stop that person from analyzing the motions to determine your log-in information later?
• Data Miners
Each time you purchase something with a bank or credit card, whether it’s in the real world or the ether world, the merchant gets your information. Credit card companies sell, rent or lease out purchase histories and tendencies to data mining companies and organizations who pay the fees. Data miners compile information about you, about your purchased products and the preferred purchase method. They sort that information into various consumer lists and sell that information to their clients who, in turn, consider you fair game for spam, sales letters and “special offers.”
Data miners get your name, billing address, card information and more, and not all clients treat your information as “hands off” territory.
• Care and Safety First
Not surfing on the Internet, not making a quick purchase and not using mobile devices is often inconvenient and unsatisfactory. The devices make life easier after all. You don’t have to stop those actions or change those habits. Just be very aware of your surroundings as you surf and buy. Know who, where, how far and what’s possible as you pull out your electronic wallet or sign into your online bank account, for instance.
Have fun. Be productive. Just be careful as you do so.
About the Guest Author:
By Jaye Ryan, a freelance author who fully enjoys writing about mobile safety for MobilePhones.org.uk