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How to Protect Your Credit Card from Smartphone Hackers

If you're at all like me, your computer is teeming with antivirus software, spyware guards, privacy alerts, and other enhanced security features.  It's what helps me sleep at night.  And if you're like me, you also rarely think twice about enacting the same kind of security measures on your smartphone. Maybe it's because I still think of my phone as, well, a phone, and not a personal database of extremely sensitive personal information, like social security numbers and credit card data.  In reality, however, our smartphones are pocket-sized treasure chests for identity pirates.

Luckily, we are not powerless to stop the advances of malicious attacks on our confidential information.  Here are a few helpful tips on how to thwart evil smartphone hackers.

Smartphone security tips

Use password lock. Almost every smartphone has the ability to require a password in order to unlock it.  Few people actually use this feature.  But if you're worried about identity theft, setting a password for your smartphone will go a long way in securing your valuable information.  It's scary to think about how much personal information is stored on smartphones, so if yours falls in the wrong hands, password protection will make it extremely difficult for criminals to gain access to sensitive materials.

Avoid credit card transactions. While smartphones offer the ultimate convenience in terms of online shopping on-the-go, credit card transactions are just not as secure as they are on a regular ol' computer.  This is because smartphone shopping is a relatively new phenomenon, whereas computer-based security safeguards have had over a decade to develop.  If at all possible, complete your credit card transactions on your laptop or desktop.

Be wise with Wi-Fi. A favorite ploy of identity thieves is to set up scam Wi-Fi networks in densely populated areas in order to lure unsuspecting users onto their networks.  Once connected to these networks, your personal info can be easily accessed by hackers.  Disable any "auto-connect" features on your phone, and only connect to Wi-Fi networks you know you can trust.

Download security apps. There are many apps out there that can enhance the security of your smartphone.  It is strongly recommended that you download a "remote wipe" app, which allows smartphone owners to permanently delete all info off their smartphone from a remote location in case they know their device has been stolen.  Some smartphones also have antivirus apps available. While nobody wants to be bogged down by security measures, a little effort can go a long way in protecting your identity from hackers.  And no article about security would be complete without saying: better safe than sorry!

Photo credit: Shutterstock / doomu

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Logan Abbott's picture

Logan Abbott is a personal finance and credit card expert with over 5 years of experience writing about each topic. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and also contributes to other online finance publications. He has been quoted in the New York Times, San Diego Union Tribune, TheStreet, and more.

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Matthew Ryan's picture

We provide consumers with our Free mi-NUI™ smartphone application and VoiceLocked™ technology. Our app gives you additional protection against credit card fraud at all participating on line retailers. You can pre-register for our application download at https://www.fraudfree.net/registration.aspx