Smartphone security: tips to prevent identity theft


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Mike Spissinger

A quick Google search will show you just how many phone applications there are out there. Some of them often come with risks.

Willie Kerns with Smartpath Technologies says that cell phone convenience could make you vulnerable to identity theft. That's because users don't always take password protection seriously.

"Within the past few years, with mobile devices you really are carrying all that personal information in your back pocket now," Kerns said.

Kerns says one of the major missteps is downloading apps that look real, but aren't. Banking institution apps are popular with cell phone users, but they're also popular with criminals.

Kerns says you should check with your bank before you download their app.

"I know of a couple financial institutions in west Kentucky alone that don't have mobile applications yet," Kerns said. "But that's definitely not going to stop somebody from possibly publishing an app using that bank's logo on the app."

Kerns says users with preset passwords are at a higher risk of trouble should you lose your phone. Scammers and hackers have an easier time accessing your personal information if you already store it.

Deleting the presets or even having a password to get into your phone cuts down your chance of identity theft.

"An ounce of common sense would go along way and do be very protective of it," Kerns said.

Kerns also urges common sense when you're asked to scan a credit or debit card when using a credit card reader that attached to a phone. Kerns says it's becoming a trend with business owners and even drug dealers.

"It's definitely worth your due diligence in doing your homework," Kerns said.

It could save you time and money, along with the headache of trying to regain your identity.