Beware: Security experts say that 2-in-5 of us will click on a scammerís link this year, raising our risk for identity theft. So, hereís how to protect yourself, courtesy of financial expert Stacey Bradford:
- Password protect your phone! Thatís your first line of defense if your phone gets lost or stolen.
- Install anti-virus and anti-malware software. Androids are especially vulnerable because most of their apps arenít screened for malicious software. A one-year subscription to McAfee Mobile Security is $30.
- Attention iPhone users: Download the free Find My iPhone app. It allows you to lock your device, track it down, and even wipe your data, remotely.
- Donít manage your money on your phone. Thereís no way to know whether your phone has been compromised, so itís better to use your computer, or go to the bank.
- Beware of free Wi-Fi Ė like at airports or coffee shops. Scammers often sit near hotspots; cherry-picking passwords sent over unsecured Wi-Fi connections. And once someone hacks your email, they have access to everything.
- Protect your Twitter and Facebook pages. Because if you posted personal information Ė like your birthday or hometown Ė hackers may be able to figure out the answers to your online security questions. Then, they simply change the passwords for your email and bank accounts, and start stealing your money.
So, is there anything you can do on your smartphone safely? Our expert says yes!
- Itís okay to check online news sites, magazines, and newspapers. But using the same password for everything is risky. So, create a unique user ID and password for each website.
- Music downloads are probably safe, too Ė as long as youíre using a factory-installed app like iTunes.
- Itís safe to use your GPS. Most identity thieves donít bother to track people down through geo-tagging. But stalkers do. If youíre worried, turn off your GPS.