Keep Your
Cell Safe

Most of us can't live without our smartphones these days. Unfortunately, as it gets easier for you to use your phone as an everyday tool for living, there are also more opportunities for hackers and identity thieves to get everything they need to invade your privacy, take your money or destroy your credit. Here are a few things you can do to secure your cell phone.

Woman on her smartphone

Voicemail

The more layers of defense you set up, the better. Consider how often you have had important personal information left on your voicemail (and how many times you've left important details on someone else's voicemail) -- information like lab results, financial details, credit card numbers, your birth date or Social Security number -- to name a few. Hackers can break into your voicemail. To protect yourself, set up a password for retrieving voicemail and be careful about the details you leave on someone else's voicemail.

Personal details

Be aware of the personal identification numbers (PINs), account information or passwords you have stored in your phone. Not only can hackers hack your cell phone, but what happens if you lose this receptacle of valuable information? Consider using the password-protected safety feature on your phone to keep these precious details away from greedy hands.

The whole phone

Most cell phones have password protection capability. Check in the set-up function where you'll find that your password protection option is probably disabled -- activating it and then choosing a password will protect the entire phone in case it's lost or stolen. Just like you would never leave your open wallet sitting around, you should never leave your phone without protection either. Lock your phone the same way you lock your computer when you aren't using it.

Cell phone account

Not only should you protect your phone, you also should protect your cell phone account. Using a PIN to authorize any changes to your cell phone service makes it harder for others to gain access and make any unauthorized changes.

Beware what you download

The same goes for downloading to your phone as it does for your computer -- before you buy (and download), be sure you're purchasing from a trusted source. Some of those cool applications you're putting on your phone may be the latest version of the Trojan horse, sneaking in under cover and accessing important information -- such as location and contact details. For apps, stick with trusted marketplaces and vendors. If you are considering downloading an app from an unfamiliar place, check reviews and research for other details first to be sure you're installing a safe app. Also, just like when you're using your PC, don't click strange links in your email or download attachments from strangers -- they may be phishing scams.

Quick tip

Always keep your software and apps updated. Outdated software can leave you vulnerable to attacks.

More about protecting your identity

What makes shopping online unsafe?
6 Online shopping habits to avoid
10 Signs you may be a victim of identity theft

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Comments

Comments on "How to secure your cell phone"

Lauren October 01, 2012 | 7:25 PM

I like the quick tip about keeping your apps and features updated. I had no idea that not updating could leave you vulnerable to attacks. Thank you for making me more aware!

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