Smartphones and tablets allow consumers to stay connected, shop online, and even review bank account statements. Recent technology has taken convenience one step further, allowing consumers to use their smartphones as a mobile wallet.
A mobile wallet allows consumers to purchase products and services using one of many mobile apps available from credit card companies, technology companies, and individual merchants. Typically, the consumer links the wallet to a payment method such as a credit card or bank account. When shopping at a participating merchant, the purchase can be made simply by showing the wallet on the device at the cash register or providing the customer’s name.
Since personal information is required to use these applications, users should understand how information is stored and how to protect themselves against fraud. For example, consider this scenario: A consumer purchases an item using a mobile wallet or smartphone, which is set up to withdraw funds from a checking account. Later, the consumer misplaces the smartphone, which a thief finds and uses to tap into the mobile wallet. The thief is now able to use the consumer’s phone to make fraudulent transactions.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to protect personal information when using mobile wallet applications:
Put a passcode on your smartphone. If your phone is lost or stolen, a passcode will make it harder for potential scammers to access your mobile wallet and personal information.
Research mobile wallet applications before you download. Make sure that you fully understand all terms and conditions, including if the company you’re considering sells personal information to other companies.
Enable security features to protect your mobile devices, including the ability to track, lock, and erase information remotely in case they are lost or stolen.
Update your mobile applications and software regularly.
Avoid public Wi-Fi and only use secure networks when shopping online or logging into personal accounts.
If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
or by calling 800-282-0515.