SAN JOSE, Calif. (3/24/10)--Consumers can significantly minimize the risk of fraud and help protect their identity while using mobile banking services by following some common-sense tips, said Technology CU, San Jose, Calif. “Fraudsters know that the key to their success lies in the consumer,” said Victor Smilgys, Technology CU assistant vice president of e-commerce and a mobile banking security expert. “So they are being very crafty in their approach to making the consumer believe an app is harmless and, in some cases, disguising it as a security safeguard. Better education is the key to minimizing these risks.” Tech CU’s Consumer Tips for Mobile Banking Security include:
* Password-protect your mobile device and lock your device when it's not in use. Keep your mobile device in a safe location. * Frequently delete text messages from your financial institution on your mobile device, especially if they contain sensitive information. * Never disclose personal information about your accounts via a text message, (i.e., account numbers, passwords, or any combination of information) that can be used to steal your identity. * Immediately contact your financial institution to change the details of your mobile banking profile if you change your mobile number or lose your mobile phone. * Do not hack or modify your device, since this will leave it susceptible to infection from a virus or Trojan. When possible, install mobile security software on your device if it’s available. Some mobile security solutions include: AhnLab Mobile Security, avast! PDA Edition, Kaspersky Mobile Security, and Norton Smartphone Security. * Be aware that malware exists and fraudulent applications will continue to pop up. Don’t download applications onto your phone without checking them out first. Verify the legitimacy of an application with your financial institution before downloading it to your Smartphone. Verify that the applications publisher or seller is your financial institution, or if possible, go through your financial institution’s website to download the application. * Report any banking application that appears to be malicious to your financial institution right away. * Monitor your financial records and accounts on a regular basis and consider having electronic alerts on account activity sent to your e-mail or mobile device. Regularly review your statements with online banking. This will enable you to spot any suspicious activity.
Victims of identity theft should contact their financial institution immediately. They also should place a fraud alert on their credit report and continue to review their credit reports, close their accounts that they know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Using mobile banking can actually help deter some fraud because it gives consumers an easy way to check their account on a regular basis and notify their credit union or bank more quickly if they see suspicious activity, Smilgys concluded.