In addition to its many other functions, your Android smartphone has evolved into your wallet, your bank and your shopping mall. Along with the convenience this offers, it also opens you up to a range of threats, from online scams to the physical theft of your phone. For this Black Friday (26 November 2021), Alcatel offers 9 tips for how you can transact safely and securely from your phone, while enjoying all the benefits of mobile commerce and payments.
1. Use a PIN code or password to lock your device
To prevent other people from accessing banking, shopping and digital wallet apps on your Android phone if it’s lost or stolen, set up a screen lock on your device. You will need to use a PIN, pattern, password or your fingerprint to unlock your device when you turn it on or wake it up.
2. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) when possible
Many payments and banking apps support 2FA to strengthen security. With 2FA, you will need to provide a PIN code (in addition to your login and password) when you sign into the app. The code may be emailed, sent via SMS, or generated on an authenticator app like Google Authenticator.
3. Avoid public Wi-Fi when shopping or banking
Try to avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks when adding cards, making purchases, or sending money on an unsecured network. Although relatively small, there is a chance that someone may intercept your information.
4. Keep an eye open for phishing scams
Treat emails, text messages and phone calls asking for your personal data, passwords and logins with suspicion. They could be scams to get your info via a fake website.
5. Download apps from official stores
Rather than downloading apps from unofficial websites, get your apps from an official store such as the Google Play Store. These apps are tested to ensure they are clear of malware designed to steal your info or subscribe you to expensive premium services.
6. Set up account notifications and check account balances
Set up alerts on online banking to receive email, SMS or mobile banking app alerts about any transactions on your account. Also, regularly check your accounts to make sure no suspicious transactions have gone through. If there’s a problem, you can contact the bank for help.
7. Log out of payments and banking apps or websites
Always log out of payments and banking apps when you are done with a session. This will prevent someone else who gets hold of your phone from logging on.
8. Check mobile websites for HTTPS
If you’re transacting through a mobile web browser, check for the secure HTTPS connection with the padlock icon. This guarantees that any data passed between your device and the server is secure, and shows you are dealing with a credible site.
9. Consider using virtual cards
Many banks now allow you to generate virtual cards to shop online. You can load your card on your mobile apps and use it to securely make payments and purchases online, without having to use your primary credit or debit card details. With some, you can load a prepaid amount onto the card, so your losses will be limited if the card is compromised.