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Securing yourself against smartphone phishing scams

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As more and more of us are conducting our banking via our smartphones, scams via these devices are also increasing.

While phishing scams have formerly focused on internet banking, as the use of smartphones has increased, mobile banking and fake app downloads are starting to emerge as security risks. It’s therefore vital that you keep informed about the best ways to stay safe both online and on your mobile.

How do the mobile scams work?

There are a variety of ways phishing scams can be deployed via mobile. The most common method is for a fraudulent company to contact random people via email claiming to represent their financial institution.

In the past these fake emails might have asked you to ‘update’ your internet banking password or to login to a fraudulent internet banking site.

These days the emails can just as commonly assert that your financial institution supports a new ‘security app’ for your mobile phone and will invite you to download the app via a link.

But of course, fraudulent security apps like this can actually be harmful malware, able to corrupt your phone and intercept important activity, such as mobile banking sessions or SMS tokens - potentially allowing the fraudster to skim funds from your account.

How can you stay safe?

Firstly, be as vigilant on your smartphone as you would be on your computer. Just as you would conduct some basic research before downloading new software onto your home computer, you should be investigating new apps before you download anything to your phone.

  • Make use of Google’s malware scanner Bouncer to check Android software – this program scans and approves safe apps to download.
  • Read through the terms of the app and permissions required by the app, be sure you understand the risks disclosed to you.
  • Conduct a Google search to check up on the reputation of the app, who created it and how long it has been available. Both safe and harmful apps are likely to have a great deal of reviews and reports online, so conducting a quick search will help you make your download decisions.
  • Ensure you only download apps from the authentic Apple App and Google Play Stores.

Remember that just like face-to-face and online banking, mobile banking is as safe as you make it. The little extra effort required to investigate unexpected emails or SMS contact will go a long way in keeping your phone and your funds secure.

And of course, always report any suspected fraudulent activity or malware to us immediately. For more information about online or mobile security, contact us today.

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