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Traveling Safely To Avoid Identity Theft
"Our phones are used more and more to organize our lives," Nikki Junker, social media coordinator and victim advisor with the Identity Theft Resource Center told us in an email. As the use of smart phones increases, con artists are finding ways to access personal information. "Smart phone security is going to become even more important," says Junker.
Protecting smart phones, and the information that is transmitted over them does not take all that much work or time, just a few security pointers.
Create a complex password. Your first line of defense is a strong password, one that combines letters, numbers and symbols. An 8-digit combination of letters and numbers, once the gold standard of passwords, is no longer good enough to foil identity and data thieves.
Install security software. "Treat your smartphone like you would your home computer," Junker says. Install security software that contains an antivirus, and be diligent about downloading updates as they're available.
Take action. If your phone is missing, call your carrier as soon as possible to report that it's been lost or stolen and to have the data wiped.
If you think you're a victim of identity theft, Junker advises taking these three steps:
- Place a 90-day fraud alert on credit reports
- File a police report
- File a fraud affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission
All of this is especially important for those who email copies of travel document, confirmations and identification to themselves and then store them on their smartphone.
Already have your phone password-protected? Think your password is secure?