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Keep Your Smartphone Safe from Cybercriminals

Newark police offer tips about keeping your personal information safe when using a smartphone.

From Newark Police

Verifying your mobile banking transactions 

Our smartphones are much more than cell phones with fancy graphics and ringtones. We can use them to check our banking and financial information while on the go. Technology has effectively saved our lunch hour—skipping the long lines at the bank. 

But with this convenience can bring some dangers, too. Cybercriminals follow the money, and it’s definitely flowing in mobile banking transactions. So how can you verify what financial transactions are legitimate? Here are some tips on avoiding electronic traps on your mobile device. 

Fake Sites and Apps 

Just because it looks, reads, and acts like your financial institution’s mobile Web site or app, this doesn’t mean it is. As with phishing emails, there are fake apps designed to help you transfer money on the go—only that cash is going into some cybercriminal’s pocket. 

To help combat this, visit your bank or credit card’s official site. Most likely, you’ll find links there to download the institution’s iOS or Android apps. This will ensure you’re getting it from a vetted source. 

Fraudulent Texts 

You just received a text from your credit card company. They suspect fraud and need your login information to make sure your account is in working order. This is fake, of course. It’s the same phishing scam we see in emails, but now it’s moved onto the mobile universe. This is “smishing” (a portmanteau word derived from SMS and phishing). As with phishing emails, do not respond—no text, email, or telephone call replies. You’ll only prompt the cybercriminal to send you more attacks. 

Fake Voicemails 

Working in tandem with fraudulent SMS texts, you should also be aware of fake voicemails on your smartphone, too. These can sound quite legitimate. But stop to think for a minute: Why would your bank or credit card company call and ask you to log into your account and/or provide your credentials? They have this information already. 

As technology advances, so do the con games. No matter how you’re receiving these messages—through fancy voicemails or 3D holograms—ignore them. If you’re in doubt, open a new browser window and type the URL of your financial company in question. Contact them with the number on the official Web site. Any number or email address given to you in the “smishing” message is likely fake, too. 

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to swindle you into revealing your financial login credentials. Don’t fall for their tricks. Proactively erecting barriers against them can be you’re greatest defense. 

Source: Symantec Corporation

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