A new friend of mine, Jennifer, sent me this social media release from Allstate Insurance Co. She wanted me to pass along to readers the possible dangers of using smartphones as they pertain to identity theft.
The release mentions some commonsense things that people can do to protect themselves from identity theft, so I thought that it would be of interest to some of the readers of MiddletownMike:
08.11.2009 – More and more consumers are reaching for a smartphone to simplify their hectic lives. On the road and with the click of the touchscreen, the ability to communicate, store information and pay bills has never been easier. But if your smart phone falls into the hands of identity thieves, the cost of convenience will be replaced with something much more expensive.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, reported instances of identity theft increased between 2007 and 2008. At the same time, the use of smartphones doubled, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all handset sales in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the NPD Group, a leader in wireless industry market research. And, with the price of smartphones on the decline, their sales are expected to steadily increase this year, leaving consumers — and the information that is stored on their phones — vulnerable.
“Smartphones are like portable computers. People do their banking, store personal information, and even passwords on these devices,” said Grady Irey, Field Product Manager, Allstate New Jersey. “What happens if your phone is stolen? What happens if you leave it in a restaurant or in the back of a cab? All of the information you have stored could make you an easy target for identity theft.”
There are several measures consumers can take to safeguard their valuable information and lessen their chances of becoming the victim of identity theft.
Make sure your phone is password protected. It may be a hassle to type in a password every time you turn on your phone, but this simple step is a good first line of defense when it comes to protecting your personal information.
Think twice before you store your information. Sure, it may be convenient to store your passwords and PIN numbers on your phone but, in the wrong hands, this information could cause some serious damage. Before storing any information on your phone, ask yourself if it could cause financial and/or personal harm. If the answer is “yes,” then the information is not appropriate for saving to your smartphone.
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