Technology has changed our lives dramatically. Things like dishwashers, TV remotes, computers and cell phones have made life so much easier than it once was. But at the same time, some of these items also open you up to certain dangers.
Just like hackers, scammers and phishers attack you through your computer, the same individuals can and will attempt to attack you and your phone. With this in mind, it’s important to be careful as you use your phone. Cell phones open you up to scams, identity theft and potential financial ruin if they are not used with care.
When you were a kid, your phone was tied to the wall with a cord. It was a way to talk to someone both near and far, but that was all it did. Today’s phones have done more than cut the cord. With thousands of apps available and having access to the web, the smartphone has opened us up to the world … and it to us. Therein lies the danger.
Your Phone is a Mini-Computer
When you use your cell phone, you are using a computer. You are accessing the internet just as you would when you’re on your laptop. Many people use their phone to access the web by checking their email, scrolling through their Facebook feed, performing banking transactions and so much more. Remember your phone has valuable data on it – it’s important to protect it.
Be Careful When Using Public Wi-Fi
Sure, it’s smart to use free public Wi-Fi to avoid data charges. But, it’s also smart to carefully consider what you do when using public Wi-Fi. Avoid accessing secure sites such as a banking app. Scammers may be able to gain entry to your account information and steal passwords on public Wi-Fi networks. Save the business you need to do on secure sites to times when you are on a secure private network.
Password-Protect your Smartphone
If your phone is lost or stolen, a thief can access your contacts list, your personal account data and identifying information in a matter of seconds if it’s not password-protected. Setting up password protection is easy and smart. Many newer phones have fingerprint technology making this easy while at the same time also making it difficult to hack.
Be Careful of Scams
Don’t trust a text message you receive on your phone if you don’t know who it is from. NEVER click on or open any links in unsolicited text messages. Never give out personal information via text message or email. Don’t download apps unless they are from trustworthy sources, no matter how interesting they sound. Google the apps and check the reviews on them.
Scammers are sneaky and work hard to get you to respond so they can get your information. Sometimes this is disguised as a sweepstakes or prize you have won. Don’t respond to or click on any links for prize-winning notifications to a sweepstakes or contest you did not enter. It’s probably a scam.
Avoid Fraudulent Calls and Text Messages
You will receive the same fraudulent and annoying calls on your smartphone as you would on a landline. Don’t give out personal information over the phone. The IRS, the county jail with a warrant for your arrest and many other establishments generally will not contact you over the phone. If you think the call might be legit, physically go to the business or establishment and answer their questions at their place of business. It may be a little inconvenient, but better safe than sorry when it comes to phone fraud.
Don’t Store Personal Info on Phone
Although it can be tempting to store personal information on your phone as typed notes or pictures taken, it’s best to avoid this practice. If the phone is lost or stolen, this information could wind up in the wrong hands and you may then find yourself at a higher risk of getting your identity stolen.
Apps that store medical information can be convenient and useful but should be downloaded only from a credible source/company. Check out an app’s credibility before downloading. Talk to your phone provider or use Google to search for reviews of the app.
Jitterbug Smart Smartphone
Ready to get a smartphone? Consider the Jitterbug Smart. It was designed especially for seniors. With larger text and icons, voice command typing, easy to use list-style menu, camera, email access and hearing aid compatibility, it’s the ideal choice for many seniors. GreatCall also offers the 5Star Urgent Response app that can be downloaded and used to call for help in case of an emergency.
In closing …
Smartphones are fun and convenient, but if a few safety measures are ignored, this same device can become the makings of a nightmare filled with trouble and heartache. Take the time you need to stay informed on how to protect yourself and your information. Be vigilant when using your smartphone.
Speaking of fun and convenient … Lake Park is both. Offering an active, maintenance-free lifestyle in beautiful downtown Oakland, California, Lake Park’s location is rich in culture and activity. Contact us to learn more.