Mobile Identity theft is scaling new heights. Not only this, it is expected to grow considerably. The primary reason for it is the soaring use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. According to the statistics, there is a new case of identity theft every 10 minutes. The number is expected to grow in the coming years given the use of smartphones and tablets.
In order to understand what mobile identity theft is, it is important first to understand the concept of identity theft.
Identity theft is regarded as a serious criminal offence. It is a situation in which, a person fraudulently passes another person’s personal information as his own to secure certain benefits. This private and confidential information can include a person’s social security number, credit card number or driving license number etc. As the name of the offence states, the information is not given voluntarily but robbed.
One of the reasons a person steals another’s identity is because the latter might need it to get certain services, merchandise or credit. The second possible reason is to use the credentials which he can use to run up a debt or to mask his crimes by providing false identification to the police. The information can be used to obtain cellular phone services, open a new checking account or to establish a new credit card account.
What is Mobile Identity Theft?
We use our mobile devices for a wide variety of functions. This includes surfing the web, emailing, instant messaging, paying utility bills, banking and shopping. As such, we not only share but also store a large amount of personal data on them. If your mobile falls into the wrong hands, this personal information can be misused; it is either used to steal money or to create a fake identity. Additionally, hackers can access this information by means of tracking softwares and bugs.
Preventing Mobile Identity Theft
The consequences of mobile identity theft are seriously damaging. The effects are long-term and hence, one should take adequate steps to prevent it. Following is a list of tips to protect sensitive information from being robbed.
· Setting a password on your phone is the first step towards protecting yourself against mobile identity theft. Also files containing confidential information must have a further layer of password protection. Names, birth dates and telephone numbers are easy passwords. A strong password is one that includes numbers, alphabets and symbols. Pattern passwords should be changed regularly.
· Set an automatic lock to lock your phone. As such, it should lock automatically when the phone is not in use. In this way, no one will be able to access your phone although it is left unattended and they have an opportunity to do so.
· Along with securing your smartphone, you should also be cautious about where you shop. This implies shopping at secure sites; those that guarantee to protect sensitive information submitted to them. The website URL in the address bar helps tell if a website is secure or not. A secure website has ‘https: //’ instead of ‘http: //’. A secure shopping site also includes the padlock symbol in the URL.
· Secure your smartphone with a good anti-virus program. It protects the system for virus and malware that could possibly be the activity of hackers. Antivirus programs also include a tracking feature that allows you to track the phone if it is lost.
· Financial information should not be shared on an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
· Beware of the apps you download from the internet. The apps should be updated regularly to keep them operating efficiently as well as for security purposes.