5 Ways to Safeguard Mobile Transactions
Banking started with traditional physical outposts, then moved to the faster, though more non-personal, ATMs. From there, it was not long before it adapted to the internet. The evolution has now reached the cosy hands of customers in the form of mobile banking - a true marriage of the pervasion of cell phones in our lives and the escalating need for financial transactions.
Innovations in online financial payments via mobile phones are making the need to carry a wallet obsolete. But though technology is bringing convenience to our very fingertips, with it also comes some associated risks such as theft of identity, which can be used to steal money from your accounts.
Banks have already set up layers of data encryption and other such security measures, but there are a few steps that you, too, need to employ to safeguard your interests.
Instill Security Habits In Yourself
When setting up mobile banking passwords for your accounts, or passwords for your profiles on shopping and other websites which may include your payment information (like a saved credit card number), do not use your date of birth, the names of family members, dates of important milestones in your life, or other such names or numbers that are significant to you. These can be easily guessed by those who know you or find out information about you for identity theft.
Instead, opt for random numbers or words that you can remember but which cannot be linked to you for easy guesses. This is a harder option as you have to recall these random numbers and words, and it might seem easier to simply use information that is easy for you to remember. However, choosing random words and numbers is a safer bet as they will be almost impossible to guess.
Try to keep your passwords longer than 7 characters. This increases the possibilities of your password and makes it harder to crack. A mix of alphanumerics is highly recommended for the very same reasons. Be sure to change your passwords frequently as well as vary them in type so no one can get used to your pattern.
Do not save your passwords on any device, either in written or vocal formats, and especially not on your mobile phone. Similarly, do not note down your debit or credit card number, account number, debit or credit card PINs, your usernames and their passwords, and other such vital information. Memorise them instead so no one but you knows what they are. Avoid sending any such information to anyone via SMS or other texting options. For if you lose your mobile, all the information that you have stored in it will fall into unsafe hands.
To make it harder for anyone to gain your personal or financial information, make it harder for them to even gain access to your device by setting an unlock pattern or password on your phone.
Do Not Transact On Public Networks
If your mobile is connected to public hotspots or general Wi-Fi like in offices, hotels, airports, cafes, or other such places, avoid making any financial transactions for the time. Public networks are more prone to risks of data theft as their encryption can be cracked by someone knowledgeable about internet security. And in such a case, it will be easy for that person to access your account information.
Make all financial transactions only when your mobile is safely connected to your personal internet connection that is passwords protected.
Check What Apps You Download Or Install
When downloading or installing any app, even ones that are non-financial, on your mobile phone, always make sure that they are official and made by companies or businesses you trust. Malicious apps or malwares abound over the internet and are made in a way as to infiltrate iOS, Android, Windows and other mobile platform security features. These tampered apps record data from your phone and transmit them to identity thieves who can use the information to steal your money.
Download and use only those banking or shopping or gaming apps that are available in the official store of your mobile platform (Google Play Store, App Store, Windows Store, etc.). Such official apps store or send out information that is encrypted and only to other official channels so that your transactions are secure.
Avoid mobile applications that show a plethora of advertisements - videos or texts or images - from unwanted sources. Do not post any information about yourself or use important accounts to access temporary apps as many of them do not follow secure deletion methods of your information after they have been uninstalled. Try to find as much information about an app to ensure that it is trustworthy before you install it on your device.
Beware Of What Links You Click On
Do not fall prey to link-baiting. Many websites, text messages, and even emails invite you to click on links that seem attractive or important. Never follow such links as most are fake and lead to phishing sites that can get past your mobile’s security features and leach out your financial and personal information from your device in the background.
Phishing messages will be worded in a way that scares you or entices you (like “We noticed your bank account password was leaked; log in through this link to reset” or “You have won a lottery; click here to claim your prize”), and they will seem to come from legitimate sources. Be aware for such scams and never give your banking or personal information in any place other than official websites.
Always ensure that any website where you enter financial or personal information begins with “https” and not “http”, or that a lock icon is showing on the address bar of your browser. An “https” website means it uses Secure Sockets Layer for its connection and this will keep your data safe and any transactional information will be between your phone and the server only. Regular information or browsing can be done on “http” sites, but refrain from any money transactions via websites that are not “https” protected.
If you are a heavy social media surfer or user, do not get too lax about what information you are sharing via these channels. Do not click on posts from people or sources you do not trust and, even then, do not follow links that do not lead to reliable websites.
Do not give any financial or personal information such as account number, password, phone number, address, Credit Card details, etc. if you get a call from anyone claiming to be from your bank or some such important institution. Unsolicited calls are a well known scam to beware of and you should hang up as soon as possible as such calls not only try to get your financial or personal information for wrong intentions but also charge you very high rates on your mobile bill and earn via that.
If you think that apps to help identify spam numbers is a good idea, then make sure they have official security certificates as many such apps access your phonebook and are not secure enough to keep such information from leaking to frauds.
Install A Trusted Antivirus Program
Almost everyone installs an antivirus software on their desktops or laptops. But it is equalli important to do so on your mobile phones. Android devices, especially, are quite prone to risks of infection, as stated by mobilesecurity.com, a leading safety blog on the internet. Use a legitimate and official antivirus that scan your device regularly and also keeps itself updated to fight the latest viruses, worms and malwares.
Also keep your mobile’s operating system (OS) updated to the latest version, as released officially by the company. This makes sure that all security features of your OS is fresh and capable to detecting and fighting off regular attempts by malwares. Do not jailbreak your phones as this tampers with the inbuilt and official security layers of your OS and can make your device vulnerable to data breaches. Clean your phone’s memory regularly so that old data is removed and, with it, the chances of stored financial or personal information.
Do not be scared of using your mobile devices for making financial transactions or for personal work. With the above measures, you can do all of these in a safe and secure manner, without any stress of identity theft even if your phone is lost or stolen.
Content Marketer, Writer, Founder of Scribers.io