Our phones now contain more personal information than ever, from our bank accounts, social media, addresses, passwords, contact lists, photos, and the list goes on. Our phones are a treasure trove of data thieves can use to steal our identities.
That’s why keeping your phone safe from thieves is so important. A stolen phone can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and many other problems. But with a few simple precautions, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of phone theft.
Here are seven ways to keep your phone safe from ID thieves:
1) Protect Your Physical Phone
This may seem like obvious advice, but it’s worth repeating. Your phone is a valuable piece of personal property, and you need to treat it as such. Never leave it unguarded in public places, and don’t let strangers borrow it.
I had a friend who routinely took his phone out of his pocket at the bar. He’d leave it in front of him, thinking it was safe. He insisted it was uncomfortable sitting with it in his pocket. A pretty lady once distracted him for a second while her accomplice snatched the phone while he turned his head. The team of thieves were out of the bar before he realized it was gone.
When you are out and about, keep your phone out of sight. Secure it in the inside pocket of your coat. If you don’t have a coat, put it in a secure pouch in your bag and wear it securely. Use hands-free Bluetooth earpods to avoid removing your phone to make or receive calls.
If someone asks you for the time, don’t pull out your phone to check. Find a clock you can see from where you are or keep walking without answering. This is a common tactic now for phone snatchers.
Don’t leave your phone in plain view in your car, even if you’re just stopping for gas. Hide it in a glove compartment or under a seat. This will make your car less of a target for thieves.
2) Use a lock screen password
One of the easiest ways to protect your phone is to use a lock screen password. This will prevent thieves from being able to access your personal data even if they manage to steal your phone. Choose a password that’s difficult to guess, and don’t use the same password as you do for other accounts.
Don’t use four-digit PINs or shape patterns on your phone’s screen. These can leave a finger grease mark that can be used to figure out your password.
Most phones have a feature that recognizes your face, or you can use your fingerprint to unlock the phone. These are more effective ways to keep your information safe since they are both very reliable and convenient.
3) Use a phone tracking app
If your phone is stolen, a phone tracking app can help you track it down and recover it. These apps use GPS to track your phone’s location, and some even allow you to remotely lock or erase the data on your phone if it falls into the wrong hands.
You can use “Find My” for iPhone, or “Find My Device” on Android. Other apps, like Cerberus and Prey, can also track your phone. These apps can even take pictures of the person who has your phone using your camera.
4) Be careful what you install
Installing apps from unknown sources can be risky, as these apps may contain malware that can steal your personal data. Only install apps from trusted sources, and be sure to read the reviews before you download anything.
5) Back up your data regularly
Backing up your data is important if your phone is lost or stolen. That way, you won’t lose all of your important information if someone gets access to your phone.
You can use iCloud or Google Drive to back up your contacts, photos, and other data. These services will keep a copy of your data in the cloud, so you can restore it if need be.
6) Keep your software up to date
Outdated software is one of the biggest security risks for any device. Make sure you’re using the latest operating system version, and install all updates as soon as they’re available. This will help to keep your phone secure against the latest threats.
7) Phone Account Identity Theft
Phone account identity theft is when someone buys a cell phone in your name without your knowledge. This is a common way to take advantage of your good credit rating so thieves can get money to buy the phone.
Identity thieves can visit dark websites to find databases of stolen account details. They buy the details and then use them to get phones. The bills for the phones are then charged to the victim.
Another way thieves get your account information is through Phishing schemes. They’ll send you an email or text message that looks like it’s from your cell phone carrier. The message will ask you to click on a link and enter your account details. Once the thieves have your information, they can use it to get phones in your name.
This type of identity theft should be easy to catch if you keep an eye on your bills. When the account statement arrives, get in touch with the mobile phone network and report the contract as fraudulent.
By following these simple tips, you can protect your phone from thieves and help to keep your personal data safe. So don’t wait until it’s too late – start safeguarding your phone today.