Crooks have found a new way to steal your identity and, believe it or not, you could be leading them right to it.
A recent study says last year alone, more than five million smart phone users were hit with possible viruses that sent texts without their permission, and even accessed their financial accounts.
Smart phones and tablets can do anything from online banking to navigation but that convenience comes with a cost.
They leave behind an electronic trail and crooks follow those foot prints right to your most valuable information.
Lindsey Watson uses a smart phone and says, “it’s like my personal assistant”
Jason Ballenger estimates, “I’m probably on it at least every five minutes.”
Rick Harlow is Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Secret Service bureau.
Harlow told News Channel 3 that number one target for thieves is financial information.
Once the crooks get their hands on it they create fake accounts which are sold internationally and used within hours.
Malicious software commonly known as “malware” is now being designed just for smart phones.
Since Andriod and Apple IOS are used in tablets and iPads it makes all these devices vulnerable to attack.
Harlow points out, “We all store lots of information on our cell phones, on our tablets.”
The malware, usually hidden in a program or app, monitors your activity, searches for passwords and sends the information back to who ever created it.
Harlow explained if a transaction takes place with valid information, it’s often difficult to prove it wasn’t you, he says, “Criminals use our banking laws and the way we conduct business, our convenience against us.”
Three are some simple steps to avoid getting malware on your devise.
Harlow says to only download from a recognized source like the Google store, or iTunes because, “Those apps are already vetted”
That means they have been screened for malware.
He also, recommends to never “jailbreak” a device, disabling those security features makes it easier for malware to sneak in through non-vetted apps.
Lastly, Harlow put emphasis on passwords, “Passwords are the most important thing, strong passwords.”
He told News Channel 3, that means using upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols.
If you don’t, he warns, “It’s easy to crack and your giving your information away.”
Harlow also had one last piece of advise.
Never handle sensitive information on public wifi.
Thieves can easily intercept that information without your knowledge and without a lot of work.