How to protect your mobile phone

Watch your back when it comes to protecting your device.

That sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you lose your wallet can also be triggered by the thought of someone stealing your smartphone.

Smartphone theft is a relatively low-risk but high-reward crime, as the indispensable gadgets render many other devices obsolete. The average smartphone is now your camera, wallet and, increasingly, your credit card.

Devices can carry years of personal photographs, phone numbers of friends and family, and apps that control everything from social networks to banking.

When code cracked by someone with devious intentions, your phone can reveal valuable identity information, facilitating potential identity fraud.

Add the replacement cost for a new device, which can be up to $1800 for a top end Apple X, and you’ve got a very desirable package for those wanting what you have.

Six ways to protect your information on your phone.

  1. Use a screen lock.
    Unlocking your phone for each use may be inconvenient, but a screen lock is the most basic form of protection available. Make sure your phone is locked when not in use.
  2. Keep your phone up to date.
    Install software updates as soon as they are released to protect yourself against hackers.
  3. Remote wipe.
    Set your phone to automatically erase after 10 incorrect attempts to enter a passcode.
  4. Lock up Siri.
    Change the setting on Siri so she won’t open from an unlocked screen and give away your personal info.
  5. Forget the fill.
    Turn off autofill for your name and passwords.
  6. Find your phone.
    Make sure you have Find Your Phone turned on in iCloud. This will help you track a lost phone, lock it and, if necessary, erase its contents.

What to do when your phone is lost or stolen.

  1. Use the Find My iPhone feature. As soon as you notice your phone is missing, log on to Find My Device for androids or Find My Phone in your iCloud account and use it to track the phone. This is a handy step if you are not sure if you have lost or mislaid your phone.
  2. Cancel phone banking. Call your bank or log onto your online banking account to disconnect your phone banking app.
  3. Advise your service provider. Avoid phone bill shock by letting your plan provider know as soon as your device goes missing.
  4. Change social media passwords. Change passwords on all social media accounts and choose to be logged out of all devices.