Safeguard your identity on mobile apps
Mobile apps may make it convenient for you to perform tasks like checking your bank statement, ordering food or hiring a car using your smartphone or tablet, but apps created by fraudsters could potentially pose a risk to your personal data. Identity thieves who have access to your personal information could then use this to steal your money or commit other financial crimes in your name.
Here are some ways to protect personal information that you’ve saved on apps from falling into the hands of identity thieves.
- Research the developer
Check if the company that developed the app is reputable. This may include if they’re a household name, for example, or have a track record of creating other popular apps.
- Read the reviews
Look up feedback on the app by other users. See if the reviews are mostly positive or negative, and what sort of comments are commonly made about the app. Pay particular attention to remarks that mention security problems like malware.
- Watch out for similar names
You may have researched the app and decided that you want to download it. When you’re searching for it in the app store, ensure that you’re picking the right one. Fraudsters could create their own versions with similar-sounding names that you could accidentally download instead.
- Question free apps
Some apps can cost nothing, but beware free versions of apps that you usually have to pay for. Fraudsters can add malware to popular apps on some platforms and re-issue them without a charge, to lure in unsuspecting victims.
- Read the permissions requested
Some apps will ask for permissions to perform tasks ranging from posting notifications to your smartphone or tablet to sharing your data with third parties. See if any of the permissions sound suspicious to you. For example, would an app that measures your health need access to your contacts? Fraudulent apps may ask for permissions that a genuine app wouldn’t, so pay attention.
- Try not to store usernames and passwords on apps
If possible, try not to save usernames or passwords automatically to apps on your smartphone or mobile. Although having these already saved can keep you from forgetting your login details, it also makes it more likely that anyone with access to your device – whether physically or online – could potentially access the app and your personal information.
- Update your apps
Criminals can be on the lookout for new ways to steal information, so developers have to keep up to protect their apps against the latest method of frauds. App developers may tweak settings to repair bugs or improve security every now and then, so make sure that you download these updates and have the latest versions on your device.
- Protect your device from identity theft
Don’t just limit identity theft prevention to your apps. Make sure to secure your smartphone or tablet as well.
It may be useful for you to take some steps to prevent identity thieves from obtaining your personal data. However, they may find new or other ways to get access to your information. You may want to keep an eye on whether your financial details are posted on websites used by fraudsters. Your Equifax Credit Report & Score – which is free for the first 30 days then £7.95 monthly – comes with WebDetect, which alerts you if we find your personal data on websites used by fraudsters.
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