Smartphones May Increase Your Identity Theft Risk

Source: “Rise in Identity Fraud Tied to Smartphone Use,” Reuters News (Feb. 22, 2012) Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, February 23, 2012

Your smartphone may be putting you at increased risk for identity fraud, according to a new report issued by Javelin Strategy & Research. 

According to the report, nearly 12 million Americans last year became victims of identity theft, an alarming 13 percent increase over 2010 numbers. Seven percent of those victims came from using the smartphone, the report says.

The report blamed smartphones and social media for making more Americans vulnerable to identity theft. The report says that Americans tend to be less cautious when using their smartphone or logged onto social media sites. Letting their guard down and not taking safety precautions can easily make them a target. 

Sixty-two percent of smartphone users were found to not password protect their home screens, according to the report. As such, if you happen to misplace your phone, anyone can gain access to the device if you do not have a password on it. 

Smartphone users also need to be careful about what apps they download. Some apps can contain viruses or can compromise your personal information. The report says services such as iTunes monitors apps and is a safer place to download apps than directly from a Web site page.

As for social media users, they can increase their chances of identity theft by revealing too much personal information online. For example, social media users should be more cautious about revealing information such as birth dates, where they went to high school, phone numbers, and additional personal information. 

The report also warns Americans to be careful when you log onto a public wifi network and be cautious about the information you share, which may be more at risk. 


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