It seems a day doesn’t go by without cyber-crime appearing somewhere on our newscasts: stolen passwords, hacked banked accounts and faceless criminals hell-bent on taking your money. How dangerous is it out there? There are certainly risks, but if you manage your finances carefully then it’s easy and safe enough, so long as you take the right precautions.
Today, it’s almost second nature to use the smartphone apps of eBay or paysafecard for example, to check account balances and purchase items. You can also use your banking app to pay bills, transfer money or check accounts. It’s convenient and accommodating when on the go, but it’s imperative that you don’t allow yourself to be complacent when using your phone for such things. First things first, make sure your phone is locked with a PIN and additionally, don’t keep your banking app on an automatic login; this is the equivalent of leaving your front door open when you exit your house.
Additionally, choosing the right network is vital to safety. When using a Wi-Fi connection inside a coffee shop, hotel or airport, make sure the network is secured with a lock symbol and ask the staff for the password details. It’s common for cyber criminals to offer a ‘Free Wi-Fi’ network close to these places, to lure unsuspecting users to login to a system that sends all your details to the crooks.
It sounds straightforward, but make sure you’re using the smartphone apps designated from your particular bank. There are a reported 650,000 malicious Android applications, pretending to be real institutions that phish for your banking details. Take some time to be certain that the app you’re downloading is the real bank you’re affiliated with. What’s more, avoid using a browser on your smartphone to conduct your finance, as the official app itself is considerably safer. Don’t forget to constantly check for updates, so you’re always ahead of the curve.
Banks usually have an option to send you an SMS update for any major changes to your account, such as when money goes in or out. So if you receive messages for finance you never did, get in touch with your institution to find out if you’ve been virtually robbed. While the texts themselves aren’t necessarily useful to a cyber-crook, best to delete them once you’ve finished reading, as you don’t leave your bank statements left out for people to see, do you?