If you own an iPhone or Android smartphone odds are you are making at least one of these dangerous mistakes that can put your personal information or details at risk.
There are two types of dangerous smartphone behavior that stand out, carrying an iPhone into a hot tub with a beer in your hand is one type, while the other is leaving a smartphone and the data on it unprotected from loss or theft.
Despite advances in software and hardware many iPhone and Android owners don’t take the simplest steps to protect the data on their smartphone from theft.
Read on to find out if you are guilty of these 10 dangerous smartphone mistakes and how you can fix them.
Protect Your Bubble is one of the top smartphone insurance options we found last year and they’ve rounded up data on dangerous smartphone behavior. The list below and the infographic shows the Top 10 dangerous smartphone mistakes users make.
- No password
- Saving banking login information
- Taking, sending and saving nude photos
- Clicking on risky links
- Posting photos while on vacation
- Posting photos with location settings turned on.
- Giving out personal information to random callers
- Using it without a case
- Connecting to unsecure WiFi networks
- No smartphone insurance or warranty
It’s not surprising that a smartphone insurance company lists this as one of the options, but these are all valid items that users should be aware of and take steps to be safe. Check out the infographic to see more about the behaviors and read on to learn how to use your smartphone safer.
Secure Your Smartphone
iPhone and Android smartphones make it easy to secure your information with a passcode, pattern, facial unlock or fingerprint. Yes, it adds an extra step to login, but it also is one big roadblock in someone taking your personal information.
A quick trip to settings will let you lock your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone with a passcode of some kind. It’s an important first step.
Saving Financial Logins
It’s annoying to type in a complex banking password on a smartphone, but if you aren’t using passcodes you’re leaving yourself open to trouble and identity theft if someone steals your phone.
A better option is to use a tool like LastPass to keep your passwords secure but easy for you to access on your iPhone or Android.
Taking Nude Photos
The easiest solution is to not take them in the first place as it is all too easy to send one to your mom by accident, let them slip into the hands of a thief or accidentally show up in a slideshow. If you must take them, secure your phone, exclude the folder from gallery and be very careful who you send them too.
Clicking on Risky Links
We often see risky links come from text message and email alerts claiming to offer important information about our bank account and we aren’t alone. Keep in mind that most banks won’t send you a text asking you to login or call them at a number provided. If you get an alert call your bank at a number you trust. If you need to verify something don’t click the link in an email. Instead go to the address and login like you would normally. It is too easy for a scammer to trick you with a long url that is hidden after the page loads.
Photos on Vacation and with Location Data
While on vacation it’s natural to want to share photos, but some experts suggest doing this invites burglars to target your house. The safest bet is to post the photos when you get back, but many users will have trouble waiting.
When you snap a photo on the iPhone or Android the camera can embed the location into the photo. This is handy for looking at photos grouped by location on the iPhone, Android or on a computer, but when you send a photo by email or message it can pass on your location to the recipient. This could unwittingly reveal your home or work location to someone.
Thankfully Twitter and Facebook appear to strip this location data out of photos share don the services.
Answering Fishy Calls
The safest strategy when it comes to answering an unknown caller is to simply avoid talking to the person. If you get an unknown call don’t answer it. If they leave a message and claim you are in financial or legal trouble, find the right number for your bank or city instead of calling them back. Scammers will often use a phone call to get users to reveal the information needed to get into accounts.
Using a Smartphone Without a Case
Using a smartphone without a case is most dangerous if you can’t afford to replace the phone or don’t have insurance or accidental damage protection. A case is an easy way to prevent cracked screens that can kill a smartphone and to help keep resale value high by preventing scratches.
If you need a start, here are a few case roundups to look at.
Not everyone needs a case, but if you don’t have the cash to replace a damaged phone a case is a good investment.
Connecting to an Unsecured WiFi Network
When on the go many users connect to a WiFi network at a coffee shop or other public place which can open you up to unwittingly sharing personal information or login details. Granted a nefarious individual may not be sniffing around your coffee shop, but it is a good idea to make sure you connect to any websites on these accounts using a https web address, or simply use your mobile connection instead of risking it. PCWorld shares the risks and how to stay secure.
Using a Smartphone Without Insurance or a Warranty
The final dangerous smartphone behavior is debatable as not everyone needs insurance or a warranty on a smartphone, but for many users it is a good idea.
If you have kids, pets that like to chew things, party too hard or work in a hazardous setting you definitely need to consider insurance or a warranty. Other users who need to be concerned about loss or theft should also consider insurance, but the choice isn’t as easy compared to high-risk users.
Insurance protects against loss and theft, while warranties will cover defects and some will cover accidental damage like drops or water damage.
Check out Gotta Be Mobile’s top iPhone 5s insurance and warranty options to see how the options compare. Other than the AppleCare+ option most of these are available on any smartphone. Readers rank Protect Your Bubble as the top option with AppleCare+ and Squaretrade in second place.