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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and more people are turning to shopping online than ever before. With great deals and often inexpensive or free shipping, it’s cost effective and saves you the headache of facing the holiday shopping crowds in stores. But shopping online from your smart phone or other device with mobile apps can put your credit card information at risk unless you take precautions to protect yourself.
Use password protection on the device
You can set your devices to require a password every time they’re used, preventing anyone from getting into your information. Sure, it’s an annoying extra step you have to take every time you use your phone, but it’s a lot easier than canceling all of your credit cards and repairing damage to your credit report!
Don’t store credit card info on your device
Using your smart phone to shop might be convenient, but it would be safer to just save items you want to your cart and then log in from your home computer to finish checking out. This way, none of your important account numbers are stored on your mobile device where thieves can find it.
Download apps to protect your device
Did you know you can download apps that will allow you to locate your device with GPS? Not only that, but you can also turn on the sound, lock the device or completely wipe all of the data on it. That way, if you have stored private info or credit card numbers, you can erase it so thieves can’t steal from you. You’ll want to download the app before you lose your smart phone or other device, at least with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
For those devices, an app called Find My iPhone will locate the device, play a sound at full volume for two minutes even if set to silent, and if that does not work, it will also let you completely wipe the device.
For Android users, you can actually send an app called Android Lost to your phone even if you’ve already lost it, and it will do all of the same things as the iPhone app, plus it lets you browse content on your device remotely so you can save data and photos to your computer before you wipe the device!
Only download apps from trusted developers
Given a bit of know how, almost anyone can create an app. Be cautious about downloading apps from unknown developers as they just might have a hidden feature to steal your information. If you want to download an app but are unsure whether it’s safe, spend a few minutes looking online for reviews to make sure no one else has been burned.