With a mobile wallet, your finances can go anywhere with or without you. If someone steals your phone — or you mistakenly leave it behind somewhere — your mobile wallet, and all the financial information it holds, could be at risk.
From bank account numbers to payment methods and online loan profiles, this financial info needs to stay safe, even when you lose track of your phone. Otherwise, someone could hack into your accounts and steal your money.
Here’s what you can do to minimize the chances of theft.
Sign Out of Apps Remotely
If you use a financial app, you’ll want to remotely sign out of any account you have on your phone. Most big mobile wallet providers (Apple, Google, and Samsung) allow you to manage your accounts online, in a browser. Sign in to disable or remove your phone for each account that has a corresponding app.
Once you’ve done this for all your accounts, no one can access these apps using that device—even if you stayed signed in.
Contact Your Financial Institutions
While some financial institutions are online, they aren’t always available through an app; instead, they operate over a web browser.
A browser-based financial institution like MoneyKey has back-end security to protect the information you share on your personal loan account. However, this online security doesn’t extend to the physical safety of your phone — that’s on you.
If you stay signed in or use a basic password, your online personal loan account may be at risk when you lose your phone. You can flag your account by letting these browser-based financial services know you’ve lost your phone.
Ask Your Provider to Blacklist Your Phone
You should contact your cell phone provider, even after your alert financial institutions and sign out of apps. They need to know your phone is missing so that you can start the ball rolling on a replacement.
It’s also an opportunity to brick the phone, so it can’t be used by anyone else.
Each phone has an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), which is a unique number your device exchanges any time it tries to access a network. Your provider can blacklist your IMEI number so that it can’t connect to a network, even if someone inserts a new SIM card.
Change All Your Passwords
You should update your passwords anytime you think your account has been compromised. When making a new password, you should stick to the following rules:
- Use a variety of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols.
- Don’t use familiar names, places, or dates.
- Make your password more than 8 characters long.
- Either use a completely randomized selection of characters or a passphrase.
- Never reuse the same password for multiple accounts.
Monitor Your Financials
As one last precaution, you should routinely check your banking, online loan, and investment accounts for suspicious activity. This makes sure no one is using these accounts without your say-so.
You can also take advantage of your free credit checks to do so. This way, you can keep an eye out on your existing accounts as well as your overall financial profile. Consistent checks can help you spot any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your report, including line of credit balances you can’t explain and cash advances you didn’t open.
Losing your phone is annoying enough without worrying about your financial well being. Keep these tips in mind to keep your financial account safe.