Safe Mobile Banking: Tips for Protecting Yourself

Friday, April 26 at 10:40 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to manage your finances can be convenient and help you monitor your money from practically anywhere. It’s important to take steps to protect your account information.

Be proactive in securing the mobile device itself. Create a strong password (consisting of unusual combinations of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols) or PIN (with random numbers instead of, say, 1234 or the last four digits of your Social Security number), periodically change it and don’t shareit with anyone. Set-up the “time out” or “auto lock” feature to password protect your phone when you haven’t used it for a certain period of time. Jail breaking a device can put confidential information at risk by disabling built-in security features provided by the mobile device manufacturer.

Be careful about where and how you conduct transactions. Be careful about using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, such as those found at coffee shops, because fraud artists might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing. Note, information accessed on an encrypted website is protected even on an open Wi-Fi network. Click here* for additional tips about using public Wi-Fi networks. Also, don't send account numbers or other sensitive information through regular emails or text messages because those are not necessarily secure.

Take additional precautions in case your device is lost or stolen. Check with your wireless provider in advance to find out about features that enable you to remotely erase content or turn off access to your device or account if you lose your phone. Quickly contact your financial services providers to let them know about the loss or theft of your device. Notifying your bank quickly will help prevent or resolve problems with unauthorized transactions.

Research any application ("app") before downloading it. Just because the name of an app resembles the name of a company you're familiar with doesn’t mean it is the official app of the company. It could be a fraudulent app designed to trick users into believing the service is legitimate.

Download an app from the official company website or a legitimate app store. Many business websites will direct you to a legitimate app store to download the app. Remember to use a different password for your apps.

Be on guard against unsolicited emails or text messages appearing to link to a financial institution's website. Those could be "phishing" messages containing some sort of urgent request (such as a warning that you need to "verify" bank account or other personal information) or an amazing offer (one that is "too good to be true") designed to lead you to a fake website controlled by thieves.

Here
are more tips on how to protect you from cyber scams on mobile devices. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team has also provided information about the risks on portable devices and best practices to minimize these risks here.*

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed. Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured instution.

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Mobile Banking
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