Skip nav to main content.

How to Keep Your Phone Safe from Fraud

person looking at phone

These days, smartphones are an integral part of our everyday lives. You can schedule appointments, store all your photos and videos, and buy practically anything with just a few taps. Unfortunately, this convenience comes with a cost: your mobile devices pose a sizable security threat if accessed by an unauthorized person. Here are 6 tips for keeping your phone safe from fraud.

1. Keep your phone locked

If your entire life is on your phone, you risk giving up complete access to your identity if your phone is stolen or misplaced. Secure your device with a strong password. If possible, use a biological lock – many devices allow you to use fingerprint or face recognition in lieu of a typed password.

In addition, consider utilizing services to help you track down and retrieve your phone if it gets misplaced. Apple and Samsung products have this built-in: Find My and Find My Mobile. These services can also remotely lock your phone from intruders and erase your data, if necessary.

Finally, make sure you adjust your settings so that your phone screen automatically locks after a short period of time being idle. That way, you’re not only staying safe but also conserving battery.

2. Choose strong, unique passwords across all your devices and apps

Passwords should blend letters with varied capitalization use, numbers, and symbols. Ideally, you should use a different password for each of your devices, apps, and other online accounts and change your passwords approximately every six months. For extra safety, avoid storing all your passwords in one location on your phone or allowing your device to remember your passwords. However, remembering complex passwords and login credentials can be difficult, so try a password manager like LastPass.

3. Browse safely

Follow these rules for safe online browsing:

  • Look for the padlock icon and the “s” after the “http” in the URL of each landing page you visit to ensure it’s a secure site.
  • Never share your personally identifiable information (PII) with an unknown contact.
  • If an alleged representative of Elevate Credit Union reaches out to you regarding an issue with your account and you’re unsure of whether it’s legitimate, reach out to us directly by text or phone call at (435) 723-3437.
  • Don’t store your credit card info in online shopping accounts.
  • Keep your security settings current.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up ads or links in emails from unverified senders.

4. Use secure Wi-Fi

The first thing many people do when they sit in a restaurant, at a bar, or almost anywhere is search for free Wi-Fi access. It’s an easy way to save on data, so why not?

Simply put, using public Wi-Fi makes you vulnerable to hacking. It’s best not to use public Wi-Fi at all, especially when banking online. To keep your device safe while using public Wi-Fi, connect to a virtual private network (VPN). Changing your virtual network will protect your location and sensitive information from scammers.

In addition, be sure to keep your own Wi-Fi locked to prevent strangers from accessing your network.

5. Encrypt your data

Your phone stores loads of your PII, making you vulnerable to identity theft if it’s stolen or misplaced. Protect your information by encrypting all sensitive data on your phone. Most phones have encryption settings, which you can enable easily.

To encrypt data on an Apple device,  go to the settings menu, choose “Touch ID & Passcode” from the pop-up menu, and follow the prompts to unlock your phone. When you’ve gained access, scroll down until you see the words “Data Protection”. If this feature is not enabled, enable it now. Your data is now unreadable.

If you own an Android phone, charge it at least 80% and unplug it. Next, select your security settings and choose “Encrypt Phone” from the menu. Encryption may take an hour or more.

If you believe your device has been compromised and you’re vulnerable to identity theft, notify Elevate Credit Union and the FTC immediately.

Smartphones bring a lot of convenience into our lives, but they carry an inherent security risk. Use the tips outlined here to keep your device safe from fraud, and check out our other MoneySmart Tips.


. Elevate Credit Union is insured up to $250,000 by NCUA. We are safe, strong and very secure! LEARN MORE