Be smarter than your smartphone.
According to comScore, 97.9 million Americans owned smartphones in the last quarter of 2011.1 Smartphone proliferation, including the iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry platforms, has certainly attracted the interest of thieves seeking to steal personal identity information.
A 2012 study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that 6.6% of smartphone users were victims of identity fraud in 2011, and were almost a third more likely to be victimized than the average consumer.2
If your phone is lost or stolen, others will have access to your data.
You’ll also have to be more careful with free applications because they could have bad intentions. And while downloading from legitimate, well-known app stores lowers the risk, it doesn’t eliminate it. So if your phone isn’t secure and you love to download those free apps from who knows where, you may be more vulnerable. Then, if you use your phone to visit social network sites, especially through public Wi-Fi, the risk could be even higher.
Tips to lower your likelihood of becoming an identity fraud victim.
- Use secure passwords to protect your mobile devices (do it on home devices, too)
- Don’t post personal information on social networks, it can be used for identity verification by criminals
- Watch out for apps, no matter how good they sound; make sure they’re from a trusted source
- Monitor your credit card use and check your statements
Smartphone operating system developers, including Apple, Android, Google, Microsoft, RIM and others, are working to patch security vulnerabilities. But the tenacity of identity thieves will continue to make the smartphone a major contributor to personal identity theft.
1 comScore Press Release, 2/2/12
2 Javelin Strategy & Research. “2012 Identity Fraud Survey Report.” 2/12.
† Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.