Scam of the day – February 17, 2016 – Identity theft danger in vacation photos

At one time tourists were easy to spot with cameras in their hands and hanging on straps around their necks, but today, stand-alone cameras have largely been replaced by our smartphones with which we not only are able to take good photographs, but also do all manner of personal and financial transactions. This is very convenient for us all, but particularly for identity thieves who will linger in tourist spots and be ready to assist you by taking a picture of you and your family at popular tourist destinations.  The problem is that rather than take your picture, the criminal takes your smartphone and promptly runs away with it leaving you without a photograph and, more importantly without your phone, which may have stored large amounts of personal information that can be used by the thief for purposes of accessing your bank account or otherwise making you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Your mother was right when she told you not to trust strangers.  The best way to deal with a problem is to avoid it in the first place so don’t give your smartphone to a stranger to take your picture.  Some good smartphone security measures you should already be taking include setting up a strong password to unlock your smartphone and make sure that you have good anti-virus and anti-malware security software installed on your smartphone and constantly updated.  It also is a good idea not to store personal information on your smartphone.  Finally, there are a number of good apps that will help you remotely track your phone’s location as well as lock it and erase information remotely.  Here are links with more information about those apps for Android and iPhones.

http://www.ctia.org/your-wireless-life/consumer-tips/how-to-deter-smartphone-thefts-and-protect-your-data/anti-theft-protection-for-android-wireless-handsets

http://www.ctia.org/your-wireless-life/consumer-tips/how-to-deter-smartphone-thefts-and-protect-your-data/anti-theft-protection-for-ios-apple-wireless-handsets