How To Prevent A Lost Phone Meltdown

How To Prevent A Lost Phone Meltdown

What information could someone get out of your phone? According to Consumer Reports, 1.4 million phones were lost while 3.1 million were stolen in 2013. We all store valuable financial information in our smartphones, how can we best go about protecting ourselves from fraud and identity theft? Here are some ways to protect your accounts if you lose your phone:

Preventive Measures

Use strong passwords. Always use a PIN to access your phone. As a general rule of thumb, create unique and strong passwords. Encryption software such as LastPass will help you keep track of them.

Always log out. Be sure to log out, or set your preferences to sign out automatically after a certain period of inactivity. For budgeting and payment apps, setting up a PIN code will add an extra layer of security.

Turn on location tracking. For iPhones, make sure Find My iPhone is turned on. For Android devices, apps such as the Android Device Manager or Where’s My Droid will help locate your phone or wipe all your data if necessary.

If Your Phone Is Lost or Stolen

Change your passwords immediately. Doing so will help protect your accounts from getting into the wrong hands. For P2P payment apps such as Venmo and Apple Pay, you can change your account settings and revoke access.

Contact your banks and credit cards. Reps from your credit union and credit card can put an alert on your accounts, and can also provide you with additional information and measures to take.

Wipe your phone. If all hope is lost, you can wipe all the data from your phone. You can do this on a Android phone by using the Where’s My Droid app, and for iPhones by signing onto your iCloud account or with the Find my iPhone app. However, this cannot be undone so consider this your nuclear option.

While the thought of your identity being stolen via your phone is scary, taking a few preventative measures will go a long way in minimizing your risk and keeping your account information safe.