Step 5. Review Security Protocols of Your Mobile Phone Company. The Associated Press reported that lost or stolen cell phones can cost Americans $30 billion a year. Understandably, you might be worried about storing sensitive login information in your phone should it land in the wrong hands; however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself before your phone goes missing – and even after the fact. Review security features of cell phone providers. There are different security options available depending on your smartphone.
Step 6. Beware of Fraudulent Apps Loaded onto Your Cell Phone. Of the top 100 paid Android and iPhone apps in 2013, 78% were hacked, according to an Arxan report. As for free apps, 73%t of Android apps were hacked last year, while 53%t of iOS apps were compromised. To protect yourself from this risk, follow these precautions: keep an eye out for multiple apps from any one bank and report possible frauds; ensure you’re using an authentic app by visiting the bank’s official website; make sure you’re downloading apps from a credible app store.
Step 7. Taking a Chance on Unknown Retailers. If you don’t buy from a well-known company, or one with which you’ve already done business, take some precautions to ensure you can be confident of a reliable transaction. Be sure the company lists an address and phone number. Try calling the customer service number to get answers to any questions that may concern you, such as how the company handles returns, refunds and consumer complaints. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau or your state or local consumer affairs department to see if other purchasers have filed complaints.
Step 8. Not Using a Credit Card. Charging the transaction allows you to dispute the purchase if it doesn’t arrive or doesn’t live up to expectations. At the same time, because identity theft–including the unauthorized use of credit card numbers–is growing, be sure to review your credit card statements regularly and contact the credit card issuer if you find anything that shouldn’t be on your bill. The online retailer should provide you with a receipt for your purchase when it’s completed, with an order or confirmation number. Print the receipt and hold on to it until you receive the product or service so that you have proof of the purchase if you need it.
Step 9. Purchases May Be More Expensive. Be mindful of the credit card purchases added to your credit card balance that will be subject to potentially high interest charges if not paid off on time. By not paying off these charges — your purchased items become more expensive. For example, for convenience, you may be tempted to make payments you normally would pay cash for — latte or lunch at the deli — using your cell phone – which will cost you more money if you carry as a balance on a credit card.
Step 10. Beware of Shopping Using a Public Wifi Connection. The connection you are using may not be secure, meaning that hackers may be able to gain access to the personal information you share with the retailer and use it to make unauthorized purchases.
Check out the California Society of CPAs’ free, non-commercial, public service Web site at www.calcpa.org and review the “Dollar & Sense Program.â€