Recently there have been news articles regarding the safety and security of smartphones. A smartphone basically is a small, portable computer capable of making telephone calls, surfing the Internet, making purchases, managing accounts and more. Consumers are turning more and more to the use of smartphones. Their convenience makes them very popular. Safety doesn’t always accompany the convenience. Consumers need to be aware that using mobile devices comes with risks. The Denver Better Business Bureau recently had an article on their Web site regarding the risks of making payments using these types of devices. An article on IT World’s Web site last year indicated that 89% of mobile owners are unaware of the risks of using smartphones for banking. Owners of the devices are unaware that smartphone applications (apps) can transmit personal details, such as credit card numbers without the user’s knowledge or consent (according to research by AVG). Research by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 91% were unaware apps can be infected with malware specifically designed to steal banking details.
Most people use security software on their computers, but few have security software installed on their mobile devices. There are a number of different vendors that have security software available for mobile devices. You need to research what is available for your device. Current technology sites that test and review software haven’t finished their research on mobile software.
- Use your mobile device’s security (locking feature).
- Install/update security software.
- Don’t shop using unsecure Wi-Fi networks. Look for “WPA” or “WPA2” on your screen, which indicates data will be scrambled.
- Use trusted Web sites.
- Beware of fraudulent apps. Research and read reviews about apps.
- Familiarize yourself with your carrier’s policies regarding financial transactions and what your liability would be if fraud occurs.
Criminally prosecuting fraud or theft that occurs through the Internet and the virtual world is a challenge. The individual(s) committing the crime could be anywhere in the world. If you become a victim of fraud or theft, file a report with your local law enforcement agency. If the crime occurs within the 18th Judicial District, the scammers could be charged with Computer Crime, Theft, Identity Theft or Criminal Impersonation depending on the circumstances. The District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Line provides assistance to victims of crime and answers questions on white collar crime issues. If you have a question or need assistance, call 720-874-8547.