Identity thefts are most likely one of the oldest kind of hoaxes in the mankind’s history. The idea is simple – fake your identity and experience the results (good or bad). Mobile identity theft differs from above with usage of mobile phone identity as a tool to commit fraud. To put things into right perspective, telecoms fraud is currently an annual $37.9 billion worldwide problem.
You can sleep your nights better by following the six tips below:
1. Keep a good track of your phone.
About 50% of all street crime involves theft of a mobile phone. In addition there are all the phones lost elsewhere (like leaving your phone unguarded on a table). If you think losing your phone like this is unlikely think again – according to market research by Continental Research 200,000 people manage annually to accidentally put phones in their washing machine. If 200,000 people can do something so unlikely, what are the odds for You losing your mobile?
In figures, tens, if not hundreds of millions of mobiles are lost each and every year. As a rule of thumb, if your phone is lost or stolen, report it immediately – unlike credit cards, consumers are usually liable for any calls / services made until the phone is reported lost.
2. Avoid weak passwords
Ever heard of 1234 or 0000; these are the default passwords countless phones come shipped with. You may have changed your general PIN code, but are you aware that most modern phones have several other PIN codes like Bluetooth PIN code that could allow anyone with specific knowledge to access your phone? Also keeping the passwords/pin codes difficult and changing them every now and then helps to keep your phone protected.
3. Manage your passwords in a safe place
If your phone gets stolen, predicting your passwords won’t be difficult if you have it written them in to your walled / diary, or even worse – back of your phone. If you can’t remember your passwords, place them In a place separate from your mobile but still somewhere easily accessible.
4. Choose your operator wisely
Some mobile operators still persist not to follow measures to fight against mobile frauds. Choose an operator that has a written policy to cut account off when phone is reported stolen. Note! If you need to report your mobile lost/stolen, you need to know your phones IMEI (Internation Mobile Equipment Identity) code.
5. Don’t lend your phone to anyone outside your family. Never!
Ordering services / making contracts by phone is very simple – a single SMS or phone call to specified number is enough to make you a customer to serviceX. Therefore, never lend your phone to anyone outside your family (or people you trust to extreme). Mobiles are private devices for private communications – if you need to share your mobile, get a public phone.
6. Monitor and limit
The best way for protection is limiting phone usage and monitoring activity (ie. reading bill content). If you never need Bluetooth, disable it. If you never intend to order / use premium content, ask your operator to block premium content services. Etc.
As always, feel free to add your comments and tips on topic.