Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New technology has led to a boom in sales of smartphones and tablets, and these products provide new opportunities for identity theft to occur.
“National Consumer Protection Week is a good time to share tips on how you can protect your smartphone and tablet from the same hackers, spammers and malware as your personal computer,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.
“It’s very common for every member of the family to have a wireless device,“ added Bartholomy, “and it’s critical for you to take these precautions with all of the smartphones and tablets used by members of your household regardless of their age or computer proficiency.”
The BBB has these tips for protecting your smartphones and tablets from hackers:
Use anti-virus software. Your tablet is a computer and should have the latest anti-virus software installed, along with a secure firewall.
Shop on trustworthy websites. If you are using your tablet to shop online, check a seller's reputation and record of customer satisfaction at BBB. Look for the “s” in https:// in the address box to ensure your payment is processed securely.
Beware of phishing. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails sent from anyone you do not know.
Set strict privacy settings. Consider restricting access on social network profiles to only friends or family, or people you know. Avoid connecting with strangers on social networking sites.
Set strong passwords. Make sure your passwords for online banking, social media accounts and emails are strong and change your passwords regularly. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts and do not use passwords that could be easy to guess.
Turn off Wi-Fi hotspot – If your tablet can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you should secure your network with a password and turn off the feature when you are not using it to prevent people from signing onto your network.
Download a tracking app – Tablets are a target for people to steal. You can download a tracking app that will allow you to tell the police where your tablet is if it is stolen.
Add a security code to your phone to prevent thieves from accessing your data. Then set your device to lock automatically when not in use for a specified time.
Update your operating system. Regularly updating your phone closes security loopholes and other back doors hackers can use to access your phone without your knowledge.
Beware of unknown apps and links. Do not download apps or click on links in emails or social media pages without first researching the source. These apps and links could contain viruses, malware or spyware that can compromise your personal data.
Avoid signing onto free Wi-Fi networks. If you connect to an unsecured or public Wi-Fi network, you should not access any financial accounts or share personal information.
Check your permissions. Check the apps on your phone to see what data they are accessing and revoke permissions for information those apps don’t need in order to run.
Turn off Wi-Fi hotspot – If your smartphone can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you should secure your network with a password and turn off the feature when you are not using it to prevent people from signing onto your network.
Delete ‘smishing’ texts. Phishing scams are sent via email and smishing scams are sent via text messages. The scammers may pose as someone from your bank or the IRS and will urge you to contact them immediately. Do not reply, but do erase the message immediately.
Erase old phones. If you’re selling, donating or recycling your old phone, ensure all your data is completely erased and the phone is returned to factory settings before letting it out of your possession.
For more information about protecting your identity, please visit BBB.