The electronic universe has become a widely traversed place, full of people from every part of the world. For those who are new to this type of environment, it’s often incomprehensible to believe what is truly capable with such technology. Often, with the simplest or most irrelevant of data, one person can easily become the next.
In a world of identity theft, computers and related hardware have become the tools of thieves throughout the world, infiltrating the lives of anybody who dares to wander the world-wide-web unprotected and unprepared.
But, as technology persists in protecting the users, awareness becomes the most ideal protection tool, allowing people to protect themselves and their lives from being violated by an intruder who is intent on stealing your identity, even through something as simple as a phone call.
Online software security
Always keep track of any applications you sign up through smartphones, online sites, and social media. Now, it is also important to understand that even if you sign up on a secure network, many of the apps can infiltrate your phone account by simply knowing your phone number.
For this reason, it is also important to understand that by answering an “unknown” number that requests for your name, you put your identity in jeopardy. If someone contacts you, requesting information of any kind even if it’s just your name, understand that if they have your phone number, they should know who you are.
Instead of answering the phone by speaking your name, ask who is speaking. This is especially important if you don’t recognize the number. The better choice is to let any unrecognized number go to voicemail, then calling back at a later time to put your personal information in a more strategic position. Though the call may be international, keep in mind that a smartphone tracks a large quantity of information on it (hence the name “smart phone”). Calling long distance and internationally through prepaid services doesn’t mean that the information on your phone isn’t readily available, so be careful what you’ve stored on this open network.
This is especially effective when job hunting, a situation in which you can better prepare exactly what you want to say when you need to say it. Don’t let yourself get caught off-guard by someone that may just be looking for an open door to infiltrate.
Another point is that you should never trust the ability of computer technology, especially because information travels faster than word-of-mouth. What you say, text, and who you contact are all tracked through your phone number and can be collected by electronic thieves. Don’t give out the following over the phone at any time:
• Your phone number
• Your social security number
• Your INS number
• Your credit card number
• Your driver’s license number
• Your bank account or routing numbers
• Your mother’s maiden name
All these things can be used to access any or all of your personal information. Once they have some of your information, it is that much easier to access the rest of it. As more information becomes readily available online, it becomes easier for people to find other people. At the same time, understand that more people also make more targets. While it always seems that it will happen to someone else, keep in mind that you ARE someone else to everyone else.
Secure your hardware
First things first, always keep your credentials confidential, especially when concerning smartphones. Don’t store any information that you don’t want other people to see on your phone. Schedules are commonly kept, and are generally okay, especially if they are public information. But, don’t become too intimate about your stored information, such as exactly who you are contacting (full name, relation, exact location). Use your smart phone apps as reminders, not complete files of information that can be stolen or used against you.
Even your computer is an access point for you smartphone. Be careful with whom you contact online, especially through social outlets such as Facebook, which offer an “open-book” to your personal info. Though it may seem tempting, never post or publish your phone number through an online site. If someone requests it, give it to them in person.
If that isn’t an online option, be sure that you utilize secure options through electronic transfers. The secure connection, confirmed as “https” rather than just “http” is your safest choice. Never make a transaction or personalized connection without being sure that you’ve contacted securely.
The online world is a growing culture, full of many people with many different intentions. There’s always the need for protection, especially when you can never be sure who may simply want to “check” out who’s been checking them out. Secure yourself and secure your online connections by securing what your smartphone knows about you.
* Use this only as an informational starting guide. Please seek additional advice from a reliable data protection provider or research consumer reports to attorney general offices for additional mobile phone data protection advice.
**Photograph “Phone Call” by Corydalus under Creative Commons Attribution