If you’re under 40, you’re probably familiar with the wireless world we live in. Teens are even more so, since they’ve barely known life without smartphones. But many parents, including Baby Boomers, are still learning the ropes.
When your parents got their first smartphone, you probably sat down and tutored them on using new features. But did you remember to teach them basic smartphone security before you showed them how to work the camera or sign in to Facebook? If not, here are four smartphone privacy and security tips to pass along to your less technologically savvy family members.
Sharing Personal Information via Call or Text
Phone scams aren’t anything new, but they’re trickier than they used to be. Make sure your loved ones know to never disclose any personal information from an unknown caller or text message. This includes financial information, personal information like birthdays and marriage status, passwords, and email addresses.
They probably know this already, but include text messages in the conversation. Text scamming might be new to them, but it is out there. Some text messages contain links that take users to spoof sites that try to steal personal information or automatically download malware that can corrupt a smartphone.
Keeping Apps Up-to-Date
Make sure they remember to update their apps regularly. Surfing the web on old versions of browsers or using old versions of mobile banking apps can open them up to security issues. If they don’t understand how to update their apps, show them how to set applications to automatically update when their phones are charging and are connected to Wi-Fi. These settings are usually found in the phone’s app store.
The latest updated versions of apps provide the best security features, as well as fixes for safety and functionality. Make sure they understand that keeping apps up-to-date is important for their smartphone security.
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Opening Emails Wisely
Email is one of the top uses of cellphones for all age groups. Your parents may already know about spam and “phishing” emails, but it’s important to reiterate taking caution with emails opened on mobile devices.
While most email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, and Apple have built-in protections for spam and phishing emails, there are always some bad emails that make it through the cracks. When using email, make sure your parents know that they should not open emails or click links from unknown or unauthorized senders, nor should they share personal information over email.
Also warn them about scammers who pretend to be from a trusted source. Some scammers pretend to be from a bank, an airline, or even from the government to trick people into handing over personal information. A good way to spot fake companies is to look at the sender’s email address. If someone is trying to confirm account information using an email address that looks like @useviaero.cell.net, they’re scammers. Official company addresses often use the company name like @viaero.com and link directly to the company’s website.
Using Caution on Social Media
Social media use is no exception to the rule of not sharing personal information that may be useful to thieves. Help your parents understand that their social media posts can be viewed by many online users if they don’t have the right privacy settings in place. Stress with them how important it is to keep personal phone numbers or addresses private.
You help them adjust their privacy settings so their posts can only be seen by their personal connections. But - keep in mind - that personal information should still not be shared even after you fix these settings.
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We want everyone to enjoy their smartphones safely and securely, no matter how technically savvy they are. A nice reminder on smartphone privacy and security is good for everyone. We hope these tips will help you and the less technologically experienced people in your life have a more secure online mobile experience.