Be smart with your smart phone

Just like getting used to a computer took time, older adults have taken their time with the movement toward smart phones. But now the floodgates have opened. Our families have encouraged us to procure a smart phone and many times they’ve purchased it for us.

But a smart phone is not like the landlines or early version of cell phones, if you can recall the phones where your mother used them to call her mother so they could meet for coffee. The smartphone of today is a mobile computer. We can use it to write e-mails or text, we can search for information on the Web, it stores our ticket to the next Colorado Rockies game and, yes, we can pay bills or check our bank account using our smart phone.

Here’s the uptick. Just like you take precautions with your desktop computer or IPad, users need to be cautious about the use of their mobile computer. Crooks are looking for opportunities to steal information from a mobile computer.

Here are some smart things to do with your smartphone:

  • Make your smartphone a useless target: don?t store any personal or financial information on your smartphone.
  • The final line of defense is always your Password. If you can afford it, get a smartphone that uses biometrics like your fingerprint, facial scan, or retinal scan your Passcode.
  • Don’t send personal information, input passwords, pay bills, do banking, or purchase items on the Internet using public Wi-Fi; personal or financial information could be intercepted and captured.
  • Just like your desktop computer, don?t enter your password on unfamiliar websites or open unknown attachments using your smartphone.
  • Use privacy browsers and search engines that don?t reveal your IP address or computer identity. Firefox, Brave, and DuckDuckGo are good examples.
  • If it’s not already installed on your smartphone, ask your phone service to install a mobile security application. It should be able to:
    Detect and remove malware
    Provide Virtual Private Network connectivity
    Scan websites for potential phishing schemes
  • Check with your phone carrier or do a Google search for software that is beginning to block Robocalls. These programs are not doing a perfect job yet,
    but they are fairly successful in stopping many Robocalls.

If some of this sounds strange or unfamiliar, do a Google search to read up on these suggestions or find a Wikipedia article that explains them. Just as with our desktop computers, wily crooks are on the prowl for information that can compromise our financial security while we are using our smartphones. Being smart is staying one step ahead of the crooks.