How You Can Protect Yourself Against Mobile Fraud

By   Suzan Mustafa
, Confidential | Sep 09, 2014 05:05 pm PST

Mobile phones play an integral part in our everyday lives. Today, smartphones enable us to use mobile apps to do our personal banking, online shopping and even order pizza! While apps make our everyday lives much simpler, smartphones have nevertheless broadened the possibilities for mobile fraud.

What is Mobile Fraud?

Before smartphones, mobile fraud mostly involved missed calls and text messages from unknown numbers that would have hidden costs and lead to a nasty sting on your phone bill if you replied to them. While this type of mobile fraud is still relevant, scammers are finding it easier to steal your money and personal information through hiding malware and spyware software in smartphone apps.

How Do Scammers Steal Your Personal Information?

Downloading an unsolicited app for your smartphone enables fraudsters to take control of your phone. Not only do the scammers then have the ability to use your phone to make calls and send text messages; they are also able to access your phone’s payment data and search history.

The most concerning thing about modern-day mobile fraud is that victims tend to become aware of something wrong only when they see their phone bill or if their network provider contacts them to make them aware of suspicious data activity. Of course, by then it is too late. The scammer has had access to their victim’s phone for weeks, and they may have potentially moved onto their next victim.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Mobile Fraud?

Download Official/Solicited Apps – Unfortunately, apps that contain hidden malware and spyware software can appear in official app stores. Before downloading an app, it’s important to always read the reviews and developer ratings. This will give insight into what other users are saying about the app, including whether they have noticed any suspicious activity.

Beware of Any Suspicious Activity on Your Phone

Malware and Spyware can cause a lot of sporadic activity on your phone. You may notice your battery dying more frequently than usual. You may also notice that apps have disappeared or that the phone is working slower than usual. If this is the case, it’s best to ring your network provider immediately to make them aware of the unusual activity.

Use an Anti-Virus Software For Your Phone – Using Anti-Virus software on your iPhone such as McAfee Mobile Security for iPhone and iPad will keep your iPhone safe by enabling a Secure Media Vault. McAfee explains that the software will “Restrict access to your personal files when sharing your iPhone and iPad with others. Photos, videos, or apps can be tucked away in a PIN protected storage area to keep your private stuff private.”

If you have an Android phone, then it’s best to use Kaspersky Internet Security for Android. Kaspersky explains that their Premium Protection software “automatically scans apps you download from the marketplace – to ensure they are not infected by viruses, worms, Trojans or other malware”.

The best way to prevent mobile fraud is to download anti-virus software for your smartphone. It is also important to frequently check your phone’s data usage to see if there is any suspicious activity, as well as to check your phone bill on a regular basis. It’s best to keep vigilant on an ongoing basis. That way if you do become a victim of mobile fraud, you can prevent any important data and information from being comprised by scammers.

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