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Does a smartphone raise your risk of identity theft?

        Money | Scams

Biggest Smartphone Security Mistakes

The single worst security mistake you can make with a smartphone is to leave it unprotected. All smartphones allow you to password-protect the "unlock" function. Older Apple iPhones require a four-digit code, while the newer models feature fingerprint recognition. Some Android smartphones allow you to unlock the screen with a series of tap and swipe gestures [source: Chen]. Failing to password protect your phone is like leaving the front door to your house wide open with your wallet and laptop sitting on the kitchen table.

Another foolish move is to remain logged in to banking apps or other online financial accounts like PayPal or Square [source: Levin]. Today's smartphones are so powerful that you can keep multiple apps open at the same time. The danger is that you will log in to your bank account to transfer some money and tap over to IM a friend without ever closing the banking app. If a thief grabs your phone at the right time, it's like finding a signed blank check.

Public WiFi "hotspots" are a boon for mobile Web users. Sending and receiving loads of data over a cellular network can get expensive, but free WiFi is just that — free! When it comes to security, though, you get what you pay for. It's a big mistake to let your smartphone connect to any random available WiFi hotspot. Savvy hackers can spoof a WiFi connection and gain access to usernames and passwords stored on your smartphone [source: Arthur].

The ultimate bonehead smartphone security move is to save all of your critical usernames and passwords in a file on your phone. We know it's hard to remember every password for your online banking app, Amazon and Facebook. But avoid the urge to e-mail yourself a spreadsheet with all of your secret login information and then put "passwords!" as the subject of the e-mail.

Keep reading for more tips on securing your smartphone against identity fraud.


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