Protect yourself from online and smartphone fraud

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smartphone fraud

(NC)—With the increasing popularity of smartphones and social media sites, fraudsters are developing new ways to steal or trick consumers into revealing personal information through online channels.

Here are three popular tips:

• Don't give away too much on social media sites: Scammers use social media sites to search for personal details of their potential victims. They use this information to decipher passwords and answers to financial institutions' security questions. Too often people use easy passwords such as their mother's maiden name, pet's name or birthday and this information may be readily available online.

• Watch out for malicious apps: Apps designed to steal your personal information do exist. Often these are disguised as games, funny videos or apps appearing to be from credible brands. Do your research; make sure anything you download is from a legitimate company or developer.

• Protect yourself from 'Wi-Fi bandits': Many smartphones/tablets/portable devices are set to automatically log on to wireless hot spots in public areas like hotel lobbies, cafes and airports. But if you're on an unsecured network, fraudsters could try to hack into your laptop or cell phone to steal your online banking passwords, copy your contacts from email programs, or even download illegal files. Disable this feature on your device, and only join Wi-Fi networks that you trust.

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