Ever lost your cell phone, misplaced it in a crowded place, or left it on a restaurant table? I know I have. In the old days, the concern was about the expense of the phone and the inconvenience of replacing it. This week, we’ll be focusing on ways your phone could lead to identity theft and the steps you can take today to protect your identity.
Today’s topic: Your contact list
When was the last time you updated your contact list? Who are the people in it? Many people don’t know that clearly identifying their spouses by using their last names, or nicknames like “sweetheart”, “hubby” and so forth, can lead to identity theft.
Case in point: A friend of mine recently lost her cell phone and called her husband to tell him about it. She was describing her hectic morning and the events around losing the phone when he interjected and said, “You lost it this morning? But you texted me this afternoon for my credit card number and I sent it to you.”
After their initial panic, they quickly took steps to mitigate the loss and protect against future fraud. But, the damage had been done. Unfortunately, if your phone is lost, a mine of information can be lost too. Fraudsters often cull through contact lists, look for nicknames or clearly identified contacts, and text the unsuspecting person for credit card numbers, bank account PINs, and other personal information.
One thing you can do to protect yourself today is to scroll through the list of contacts in your phone and look for identifiers – last names, nicknames, and so forth, and change them. For more information on how to protect your identity visit www.protectmyid.com.