Be Smart About Your Smartphone

You just bought the latest Smartphone.  You loaded all your favorite apps–online banking, GPS, even an app to track your health.

But now your phone is full of information about you–how much money you have, where you are and whether you’ve gained a little weight.  Your information can cause problems if it’s in the wrong hands.  Want to protect it?  These tips are for you:

  • Set you phone to lock automatically. When you don’t use the phone for a few minutes, the phone should automatically lock itself and require a password to reopen.
  • Use passwords for your phone. In addition to a password to unlock your phone, use a different passwords for each shopping or financial app. Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • Be wise about Wi-Fi. Don’t send personal information on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library or hotel. Wait until you can use an encrypted Wi-Fi network that requires a password.
  • Foil phishing attempts. Don’t text or email personal information, and delete any texts or email messages that ask for it. If you must give out personal information, do it only if you type in the organization’s web address yourself and you see signs that the site is secure–either “https” (the “s” stands for secure) or a lock icon.
  • Connect to Bluetooth carefully. Bluetooth makes it easier for you to connect your phone with other devices. But, like other wireless connections, Bluetooth also can make it easier for thieves to steal your personal information. So, connect to Bluetooth in private, uncrowded areas only. Don’t forget to turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it.

Now you are ready to start using your new phone, right? Before you toss your old Smartphone,  remove all your personal information.  It’s important to protect your personal information from the moment you start using your phone until you get rid of it.

For additional information go to

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students how they get rid of all the personal and financial information stored in their mobile devices.
  • Why is it important to use strong passwords with your mobile device, laptop, credit, bank, and other accounts?

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to protect your personal information from the moment you start using your phone until you get rid of it?
  2. What steps should you take to remove personal information before discarding your mobile device?

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