How to Use Digital Wallets Safely and Securely

Protect Your Mobile Money

When making transactions:

Beware of spoofed invoices. A spoofed invoice looks legitimate but isn’t. Google Wallet warns customers on its website to avoid merchants that request payments through wire transfer or direct bank transfer. It also tells consumers to beware of sites that seek to break up high-priced transactions into smaller payments or disburse amounts to several recipients.

Double-check Web links. Don’t fall prey to “phishing” attacks in which you enter personal information on fake websites. Before you log in, make sure you’re on the right URL. Also, log on to sites directly, rather than clicking on links in e-mails. Finally, avoid providing personal information such as your Social Security number via e-mail or online forms.

When using your phone:

Set a passcode. “Put an auto-lock on your device and set your screen to lock after five minutes,” Mahaffey says. Sixty-two percent of smartphone users don’t use a password on their home screen, probably contributing to the fact that smartphone users are 33% more likely than the general public to be victims of identity fraud, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

Use mobile security. Two apps, Find My iPhone and Where’s My Droid, allow you to lock your phone remotely and wipe out information if it is lost or stolen. Programs such as Lookout Mobile Security’s Lookout app keep your phone protected from malware and spyware in addition to providing remote data removal and cell phone tracking.

Update software. If there’s a security flaw on a banking app, the bank will generally release a software update to fix it. Download all updates as soon as you’re notified.