Mobile banking fears
April Tucker is prone to losing her phone.
"I have lost it traveling. I have put it down," she says.
So she's nervous about mobile banking. Even though it's catching on with the masses, Tucker is still among those who say no way.
"Just having it on your phone is just an additional way for someone to hack into your information," she says.
A recent experiment gives her all the more reason to be concerned. The computer software company Symantec intentionally lost 50 phones in four cities around the United States, just to see what would happen when they were found.
Special software was installed to track the phones, and what people did with them. In half the cases, the finder tried to return the cell, but not before they did a little snooping.
"People looked at private pics, they tried to access a banking account, logging into a person's bank," says Kevin Haley, the director of product management at Symantec Security Response.
Forty-three percent actually tried to access banking apps and 57 percent went into a saved password file. Still, Doug Johnson, with the American Bankers Association's risk management unit, hopes Tucker and others reconsider.
Johnson says with proper steps, it's safe to bank on your smart phone. Step one: create a password just to be able to use the phone.
"You don't want people to be able to get right into the phone," he says.
Next, create different passwords for each mobile account that's tied to your money. It may be a lot to keep straight, but he warns you should not select the 'remember this password' option when it appears.
"It kind of defeats the purpose of the password," says Johnson.
There are a lot of new special software and apps to protect you if your phone goes missing.
"There's also some other great technology out there that would let you remotely wipe all your personal information and business information off that phone," says Haley.
There's even a feature called "scream".
"The scream feature is going to make your phone let out a loud noise, a scream, so you can identify where you've left it," explains Haley.
Or, scare a thief into dumping it. If you don't have the extras, Johnson does offer some advice in case your phone goes missing.
"You misplaced your phone, you believe you haven't taken proper measures, contact your financial institution," says Johnson.
Despite available precautions, Tucker remains a skeptic when it comes to banking on anything other than her laptop.
"I'm not comfortable with having a bank app on my phone," she says.
The American Bankers Association points out the tech and financial industries have learned a great deal of phone safety by using the lessons they learned with online banking protections.
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