The smart new way scammers steal your cash
Emma Roberts reveals how you can protect your finances by staying smart phone safe.
The commute into any big city is never going to be an enjoyable event. Hundreds of half awake people crammed into stuffy train carriages could only mean uncomfortable boredom.
But today my fatigue was replaced with intrigue, as a businessman who was crammed next to me showed off his shiny new gadget.
Whilst most of the other commuters struggled to turn the pages of their limp newspapers, this man tapped away at the screen of his futuristic looking iPad.
Of course, I was inclined to have a little nosey at what he was doing and within five minutes I learnt his name, where he lived and that he was going to be on holiday this weekend.
He was clearly displaying a detailed summary of his life, courtesy of Facebook, for everyone on the train to see. A fantastic opportunity for potential fraudsters and thieves to delve at leisure into his personal information.
I’ve only seen a few iPads around but it seems almost everyone in London these days is equipped with a smart phone.
These nifty gizmos are effectively mini PCs that allow you to send emails, look at websites, do your online banking as well as being the host to thousands of amusing and useful aps.
Smart phones dominate the mobile phone market and cost up to £400, so no wonder that thieves are desperate to get their hands on them. But having your smart phone stolen won’t just mean you’ve lost a great gadget; if you’re not careful, you could end up losing a lot more.
So what should you know when it comes to being smart phone savvy?
With the evolution of technology, comes the development of more sophisticated and sinister scams. Like with computers, smart phones are a platform fraudsters use to scam you out of your hard-earned cash.
Although there haven’t been many high profile cases for smart phones, there are a few dangerous swindles starting to rear their ugly heads.
The most recent is a trojan application that poses as a media player. Once it’s been installed, it starts sending premium rate text messages that rake up huge costs for the phone’s owner.
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This devious scam targets smart phones that run Google’s android operating system. It is spread via a text message that prompts the user to install the ‘media player’ application.
To avoid falling victim to this scam or a similar one, only install aps that you know are from a trusted source.
Smart phones allow you to organise your life in the palm of your multi-tasking hands.
Not only can you arrange your finances and your personal life, you can even make holiday bookings.
But beware, this information can be extremely dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands.
Your smart phone is not just a phone, it should be treated with the same level of security as your PC.
Never underestimate the importance of passwords. It may be tempting to click the ‘remember me’ button to save time when you log into a website but doing this means that someone else can have instant access to all your personal information if they get hold of your phone. That includes all the information you have stored on your work and personal email inboxes, if you can access them from your phone.
Make sure your passwords are highly secure and don’t store your passwords anywhere else on your phone. You should also have a different password for each website that you sign up for.
As with aps, only go on websites from a reputable source and don’t ignore any security warnings that pop up.
Most smart phones have in built Wi-Fi access but if you have to connect to an external Wi-Fi access point, ensure that it’s secure. Browsing the internet on an unsecure Wi-Fi connection poses a multitude of risks, including data theft.
When it comes to keeping your phone and your finances safe, the most fundamental rule is to protect your device with a password. As well as having passwords for all the websites that you visit, you should have a master password that locks the actual handset. This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people skip having a password just to save time.
Having Bluetooth on your smart phone is a fantastic feature, as it allows you to send pictures and messages to people in your close proximity for free.
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However, it can also be a crafty portal for fraudsters to get to your personal information and drain your cash.
Always ensure that your Bluetooth is turned off when it’s not in use and check your settings to make sure that your device is not listed as ‘discoverable.’
Make sure you o?nly accept a pairing with someone when you are certain you know who it is.
Online banking via your smart phone is normally secure if you take the relevant online precautions, however you should also be vigilant of what’s going on around you when you’re using your smart phone.
?Fraudsters, known as ‘shoulder surfers’, operate by paying acute attention to your log in details, so they have the relevant data they need to log onto your online banking.
?Make sure you keep an eye out to see if anyone’s watching and be cautious in busy public places, such as on public transport.
Another risk that is often overlooked, is the use of GPS systems in your smart phone. ??????????
?I?t?'?s????? ????a good idea not to save your favourite destinations, such as your home within the GPS system.
?This is because, if your phone is lost or stolen, people could have instant access to your home address.
Also, if you’ve decided to upgrade your smart phone, it’s a great idea to either recycle it online or sell it for some extra cash. However, before you do this it’s essential that you completely erase all the data so it doesn’t get in the wrong hands.
Smart phones are extremely intelligent and useful gadgets, just make sure you’re equally as smart so you don’t end up losing out