How To Protect Yourself From the Financial Risks Of Losing a Smartphone

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Financial Risks of Losing a Smartphone

How To Protect Yourself From the Financial Risks Of Losing a Smartphone


The financial risks of losing a smartphone go far beyond the cost of replacing your device. There’s probably lots of sensitive data on your smartphone, such as banking information, saved credit card numbers, and personal data like your name and birthday. If your smartphone falls into the wrong hands, your bank account could get drained or you could become a victim of credit card fraud or full-on identity theft.

That’s why it’s so important to take steps to protect yourself from the financial risks of losing a smartphone. Here’s what you can do to prevent your smartphone’s financial data from falling into the wrong hands. 

Here’s How To Protect Yourself From the Financial Risks of Losing a Smartphone

We all misplace our phones from time to time. If you’re worried you’ll lose your phone in a public place and it will end up in the wrong hands, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, such as locking your phone and getting insurance coverage to offset the cost of replacing your device. Here are a few of the ways you can lessen the financial repercussions of losing your phone. 

Beef Up Your Password Protection 

Studies have shown that 62% of smartphone users don’t password protect their phones. Although a 4-digit pin is better than nothing, cybersecurity experts recommend you use more complex passwords that are harder to guess. 

It’s best to create a strong password with at least 8 characters that contains a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters like punctuation marks. Ideally, avoid spelling out recognizable words and phrases. Keeping the letters and numbers random will make it tougher for hackers to crack your passcode. If you have a hard time remembering complicated passwords, you can enable facial recognition or Touch ID instead. 

Some phones also have a feature that automatically erases all your personal data after about 10 unsuccessful login attempts. Here are instructions on how to enable this security measure on iPhones and Android devices

Disable Auto Login 

Auto login is a convenient feature that allows you to sign in to your mobile apps without having to enter your password. But if you enable auto login on your banking and financial apps, you’re exposing yourself to the financial risks of losing a smartphone. 

If your phone falls into the hands of a hacker, they’ll be able to easily access your financial accounts and steal your money. So check your financial banking apps to make sure auto login is disabled. 

Enable The “Find My Phone” Feature 

iPhones have an anti-theft feature called “Find My iPhone” that you can enable in your phone’s settings (here’s an article that explains exactly how to do it). If you lose your smartphone, you can log in to your iCloud account from your computer and track down your phone through this Find My iPhone app. 

However, the app may not work if someone has stolen your phone and powered it down or shielded it from cellular networks. Still, you may be able to see the last place the phone was powered on through Find My iPhone, which could potentially help you find the device. 

Androids also have a similar feature, which you can learn how to enable here. It’s essential that you enable this feature now, because you won’t be able to do it once your phone is lost. 

Get Insurance Coverage For Your Phone 

For about $20 per month or less, you can purchase cellphone insurance that will reimburse you if your phone is lost, damaged, or stolen. You’ll have to pay a deductible for each claim you make, but it’s usually much less than the cost of repairing or replacing your phone. However, read the fine print of the insurance policy before you sign up, as some plans may not cover loss or theft. 

Another coverage option is to get a rewards credit card that offers cellphone protection as a perk. These protection plans will usually cover both lost and damaged phones. But keep in mind that may require you to pay your cellphone bill with your credit card to qualify. 

What Should I Do If I’ve Already Lost My Phone? 

If you’ve already lost your phone, it’s too late to follow the steps above to protect yourself. But there are still things you can do to mitigate the financial damage that could occur if your cellphone falls into the wrong hands. Read on to learn more.

Call or Text Your Phone 

If you don’t have Find My Phone enabled and you’re not sure where your phone is, try texting or calling it from another device. That way you’ll be able to hear your phone and locate it if it’s nearby. If a stranger or friend has your phone and is trying to return it to you, calling it will help them return your device to you safely.

Wipe Your Data 

If you don’t get a timely response to your call or text, it’s possible that your phone may have fallen into the wrong hands. If you think your phone has been picked up by a bad actor, it’s important for you to respond quickly to protect your data. Hackers and thieves will remove your phone’s SIM card or shield it from access to cellular networks. If this happens, you won’t be able to remotely wipe your phone and protect your data. 

So if you strongly suspect your phone has been permanently lost or stolen, it’s a good idea to log in to your iCloud or Android account as soon as possible and wipe your data remotely. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it. 

Once you’re sure your phone is gone forever, you can also call your mobile service provider to cancel your service. They can even mark your phone as unusable so no one else will be able to use it or profit from it by reselling it.

Change Your Account Passwords 

Even if you don’t think you had auto login enabled on your mobile apps, it’s a good idea to change all of your account passwords. Start with your most important accounts like your financial apps and work your way down to your social media accounts and streaming apps. Use unique, secure passwords that are hard to guess, and don’t use the same password twice. 

For the next few weeks, pay close attention to your financial statements to make sure that everything is correct. You may even want to look into freezing your credit so no new loans can be taken out in your name. 

If you’ve ever lost a phone, what did you do to protect your data from falling into the wrong hands? Share your tips in the comments below!

Read More 

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