As technology continues to rapidly evolve, more and more consumers are turning to their smartphones and tablet devices to do just about everything, including paying bills and making purchases. Unfortunately, while these technologies may be convenient and wildly popular, they may not be as secure as one would assume.
According to a recent analysis conducted by Consumer Reports, if you use your cell phone to make mobile payments, your level of protection against financial liability if something goes wrong will vary depending on your wireless carrier's policies and your cell phone contract.
Protections are not the same as those that are guaranteed for direct transactions made with credit and debit cards.
“Often technology moves faster than the security to accompany it,” said Angie Barnett, president and CEO of BBB Greater Maryland. “This is the case with smartphones and similar devices so consumers need to know what protections are in place, as well as what the risks are.”
To avoid problems with your device carrier and/or merchants you purchase from, keep these tips in mind:
- Read your contract and make sure you understand your protections. If something isn’t clear, contact the carrier and ask questions.
- As much as we would like to think of smartphones or iPads as a mini computers, they are not and may not have security software available. Find out if your device has such software available and purchase it to keep your transactions as safe as possible just like you would with your laptop.
- Beware of fake apps. Make sure that your device has a screening process in place for each app you download. Remember that oftentimes, fake apps are the free ones. Also, try to research and review apps before downloading to see if anyone has had any problems with it.