In the age of technology, there are more way than ever to steal a person’s identity. It doesn’t take someone with an IT job to do it these days. A lost phone, and especially a smartphone, is a goldmine of personal information for identity theft. Here are some ways that most people make themselves vulnerable to identity theft via their cell phones.
Everyone stores information. With password requirements changing every day, and more email addresses than a person can count, it’s the rare person who hasn’t written down a password or two. As most people with IT jobs will explain, phones make this extremely easy. For example, people write the name of a website as a contact with the password as the email address, or simply save their bank account number as “bank.”
Stay Safe: Don’t Store, or keep it password-locked. There are some apps available which require a password to get into, so if something must be stored put it there.
Signed In Services
It’s annoying to sign into accounts over and over, so many people leave them open constantly on a smartphone, or have the password saved on the website.
Stay Safe: Apps for services like banks or Paypal sign out automatically after a certain time limit, protecting the user. If the phone is stolen and there was a password saved on it, log into the website at home and change the password immediately.
This is the biggest problem with smartphones, and even tech geeks and IT professionals forget about it. It’s likely that all password recovery for websites and accounts is linked to an email address. This main email is often also synced to the phone. This means that even if a password is changed, the thief can see what happened and change it again.
Stay Safe: Set up forwarding from that account as soon as the phone is lost. Most sites make it easy to set up email forwarding, making it so that all emails to that account bounce into a new account instead.
The first line of defense against any of these events is to keep the phone locked. Unless whoever finds the phone really does have an IT job, this will protect the information. As for getting the phone back, there are several apps which will locate it regardless of lock status.