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Posted on April 15, 2014 by in Credit Fraud & Monitoring, Identity & Privacy, Personal

While many smartphone users are eager to download games, apps, and other digital diversions on their mobile device, not enough of us remember to take the time to make our phones as secure as possible.

According to the PEW Research Internet Project, adult smartphone ownership has reached 58%, while 42% of American adults own a tablet computer. Given these numbers, it makes sense that as we spend more time with our smartphones and tablets, we will become more comfortable going beyond browsing to actually shopping on these devices.

But, phones can be hacked, or more commonly, lost or stolen. If you haven’t “locked” your phone with a personal security pin, you immediately open yourself up to the very real risk of identity theft. In fact, over 60% of people who own smartphones don’t bother to lock their phones with a personal security pin. And that’s just a basic security measure.

Don’t leave your personal data up for grabs. Take steps today to protect yourself by surfing “smart.”

Up to date = safer. You know those software updates your device prompts you to install? Two words; install them. Okay, three words; always install them! An encrypted device is a safer device.

Wild and woolly Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi means questionable Wi-Fi; avoid it when your personal information is at stake. Don’t allow your smartphone to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks. If you have a fast cellular network on hand it’s probably safer than public Wi-Fi, even if it’s your favorite Starbucks serving up the Wi-Fi along with your latte.

Layer it on. WEP, WPA2, SSL, HTTPS… Who has time to decipher security jargon? When you shop on your smartphone or tablet you hope that the e-tailer has made their ecommerce experience as safe as possible. But you need to pay attention. Only buy from a site that has HTTPS. The “s” means it’s secure.

Beware of fakes. Only shop on sites you know. If you haven’t heard of a site you should move on and pick one that you know is legitimate for your transactions. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to NEVER download anything from unknown sources.

Log in, log out. Do you know how many sites you’re logged into and stay logged into across your mobile devices? It’s a good idea to regularly log out, especially for sites that hold your personal and/or financial information.

R3&4sn59BrsVpz9? Using unique passwords across your various accounts is a key security measure. And, the more complex, the safer. Don’t use your pet’s name, your birthday, or your home address in a password. If you can’t remember your passwords, write them down and store them far away from your computer or mobile devices.

Monitor your credit report. The wider you cast your online shopping net, the more vulnerable you become to identity theft, so don’t forget to look at your report quarterly if possible, and worst case scenario, once a year. IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit is a good way to stay on top of your credit report throughout the year.

By taking these steps you will be far ahead of the curve when it comes to making safer transactions, both big and small on your smartphone and tablet. We hope you will share these tips with your family and friends. And, here’s to future happy and safe mobile shopping!

Image courtesy of Flickr user Blake Patterson