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Keeping your mobile devices safe can be easy, but without these important steps, stealing your information might be easy, too.

Smart phones are wonder of modern invention. You can handle a whole day’s business from a computer that fits in your palm, contact people on the other side of the planet, or learn the latest Tik-Tok trend to impress and embarrass your favorite teen. We protect our phones with life-proof covers, antibacterial wipes, and a protection plan that covers us if we drop it. Which we definitely did not do last weekend.

In fact, it’s hard to remember a time we didn’t have our phone in our hand. There is a very good chance you’re reading these words on a five-inch screen right now, in fact. In spite of our territorial relationship with our smart phones, they are surprisingly vulnerable to an attack that your Otterbox and insurance policy may not cover. We’re talking about phishing, scamming, and identity theft.

Scam-proofing your phone is as simple as scam-proofing the person using it. We can’t promise that your mom won’t accidentally answer a hacker’s call while looking through your photo albums, but we can help you safeguard some of your most vulnerable data to ensure that you aren’t leaving the door open to attack.

Monitor Children’s Usage

Your phone practically belongs to your children, as it homes their favorite apps and videos. Be sure to enable Guided Access if your child will be holding onto your phone for more than a moment. If a scam text comes through and your child clicks on a link, you’ve just unlocked your phone for a stranger, so be sure to take extra precautions!

Lock it Down

Utilize the fingerprint, face recognition, and passcode wherever possible, but especially on any financial or banking apps. Requiring a separate password to access the app and the account ensures that only you are able to see and alter your banking information.

Secure Network

Free wi-fi is nice, but be sure to avoid accessing personal information from your phone when connected to an unsecured network. If you need to access your accounts while at your local coffee shop, simply switch to using your data plan rather than the free wi-fi available.

Shut Down Apps

Most apps that manage your personal information shut themselves down after several minutes of inactivity, but several minutes is all hackers need to access sensitive data.

Your Update is Due

Every update your phone goes through comes with increased protections and security. It’s tempting to procrastinate them, but doing so may be leaving your phone vulnerable to attack. Schedule your update for tonight and be sure your phone is plugged in. Start the update manually before you go to bed, and you’ll wake up safer and more secure.

Do This Before You Donate

Donating, swapping, selling, or trading in your phone is an excellent way to help out or earn a few extra bucks. Before you do, be sure to completely wipe your phone! Remove all data, your iCloud access, and restore to factory settings. There is a very good chance that the person who gets your old phone would only laugh at the pictures you left in your photo app, but there is also a chance it could wind up in the hands of someone who wanted to do more with your information.

Distance is Always a Good Idea

If you have ever found yourself absentmindedly staring as the person in front of you in line swiping through their phone, you know just how innocently someone’s private life can become public knowledge. However, if the person in front of you had been entering their password into their banking app, you definitely would have looked away.

It is important to be aware of looky-loos and shoulder surfers. If we keep one aspect from this year, maybe it can be maintaining six feet of distance between ourselves and strangers!

Try using a black-out privacy screen as an easy and affordable way of maintaining your privacy. You wouldn’t want the person behind you to accidentally watch you swipe left on a picture of them!

When you get a suspicious email on your computer, alarms go off in your head alerting you not to click. You’ve heard the warnings a thousand times and you would never dream of it! And yet statistics show that the same email opened on a mobile device is significantly more likely to get clicked. Never open links from phone numbers or email addresses you don’t know. If you get a suspicious link from an acquaintance, call them. No matter what is in that link, it can wait until you verify that it’s coming from someone who meant to send it to you. Many hackers and scammers have found ways to mirror accounts, making them look like they’re emails or texts from your bank, your boss, or your favorite aunt. Always verify, and immediately block and report any suspicious accounts.

Alert Your Bank

If your phone has been lost or stolen, immediately call your phone company and alert them. They can stop any charges or activity, trace your phone, and help you locate or shut it down. Your next step is to call your bank, credit cards, and financial institutions. Let them know that your information is vulnerable and begin the process of monitoring your account for fraud. Shut down any cards that were associated with the phone number. This can mean any cards attached to your Apple, Facebook, or Amazon apps, as well. New cards can be issued, but untangling the mess of fraudulent activity is a much trickier (and much longer) process.

We are lucky to be living in a time when all of the world’s information is at our fingertips! Keeping that information safe is simple, and imperative. If you have questions about the safety of your Dundee Bank app, or would like help setting up your account security, reach out to one of our friendly and knowledgeable bankers today!

Learn about Dundee Bank’s free app, Brella, that quickly identifies potentially fraudulent charges »