Be smart when it comes to keeping your smartphone safe

Cell phones allow us to have it all at our fingertips: Internet connections that link to personal places, banking and social networking sites. These phones are evolving and becoming much ore than just phones, but this evolution puts consumers are more risk of identity theft than ever before.

So the Better Business Bureau encourages cell phone users to protect their identities by protecting their cell phones – and everything they contain.

If someone obtains your cell phone without your permission, there is a wide variety of things he could do to harm you, including stealing your identity, and using your name, your account numbers and your PINs. If you remain logged into a social networking or bank site, it can be particularly damaging.

You shouldn’t keep your credit card, PIN numbers, passwords or other personal information stored on you phone. Don’t store or message personal information like dates of birth.

You should be sure your phone is secure by setting up a password, and by properly disposing of your phone when you get a new one. Tossing your phone in the trash after you remove the SIM card isn’t enough. Personal information can also be stored on the phone, and you should be familiar with how to remove it.

Be careful about adding additional applications. Third-party apps are another way that criminals can attack smartphones. You should only use apps from trusted sources.

Be sure to keep your phone updated. When your carrier develops new updates or upgrades for your phone, install them. Very often, these updates are for your protection.

Your smartphone is your lifeline, and you don’t want it cut off. So don’t be careless with your phone. Doing so can result in it becoming lost or stolen. Get software protection when available, set your PIN number and be careful about adding apps. Taking these precautions will keep you safe from identity theft.

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