Home » March Tech Tip: Use Your Smart Phone Smarts

We have had Associate Partners in banking and in legal speak to our apprentices about being smart with your smart phone. Millennials live on them.

Do you? Are there things you don’t do on your phone because you’re unsure of the security of it? Or, the opposite- where you fearlessly do everything on it, because, Hey, if they want to hack you they will.

Uuggghhhh. Both approaches are lacking.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Start with your bank’s mobile app for banking- not using Google to login to the website on your phone. Get the app from your bank’s website- not the app store! The mobile sites are made for this function and will be better, faster, and more secure.
  • Check the web address to make sure it’s your bank’s official site- and not an imposter. You’re preparing to open this up to your precious accounts and passwords….
  • Avoid the “broker” – a banking app that promises it can safely connect all of your banks and accounts together to make your life easier. These are not bound by the same rules and regs and the app creator can steal your information (to all of your institutions) easily.
  • Pay attention to and download the necessary updates for your app. It’s only as good as it’s most up to date version.
  • Passwords: make ‘em long and strong. Same rules apply here as all other online activity. Don’t use “password”. Make eight or more character long passwords and CHANGE them now and again.
  • Never store the passwords on the app/site. Type them in fresh every time. When it prompts ”Remember for this site?” be Nancy Reagan and Just Say No.
  • You already know better than opening ANYTHING on a “public Wi-Fi , right? Like the coffee shop, the airport….No, No, No. Never look at private information on a public Wi-Fi setting.
  • Alerts. Sign up for them. While you’re at it, sign up for them on your credit cards too if you have not. These are a great service, can be set at low amounts (like $50.00) and will email you about account usage, how much, and where. Invaluable. You can stop nefarious actions ASAP.
  • You lock your house when you leave it, right? Lock your phone. There’s a lot of valuable stuff in there, stuff you’re fond of, stuff you don’t want to have to replace. Have you ever had to back track over an account that has been compromised? A credit card that has been breached at a large chain store? Sickening feeling. And it’s a lot of work to handle even one such event. Imagine knowing your banking is now wide open.
  • Don’t text sensitive information to your bank. Text messages don’t travel on a secure network. Handle sensitive issues via your safe banking app, or better still, from home on a laptop.

Finally, treat your phone as you would your wallet…because you just made it your wallet. Not in your back pocket, not on an outside pocket of a handbag, places easily lifted from you. Think about how easy it could be to grab in the environment you’re in and guard it accordingly.

Now, carpe diem Smarty!

Grant Shmelzer