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man and woman holding phonesSmartphones, tablets and wearable devices provide convenient access to your email, social media, bank and other accounts that may contain your personal information.

Unfortunately, your mobile devices can potentially provide the same convenient access for cyber criminals.

The holidays are a time to shop, travel and connect with family and friends. Security risks can take your holiday from “merry and bright” to “scary and bah humbug” in a matter of seconds.

The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money and identity – safe anytime of the year, especially during the holiday season.

Tips to Keep your Devices Secure

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other mobile devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information, if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer, by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions” and delete unused or rarely used apps.
  • Download updates for your mobile devices and apps.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information on a mobile device, like passwords or a social security number.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are entering sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell, trade or recycle it to a family member, using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely, if it is lost or stolen.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you do not know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider), claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections are not secure, so do not perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.