Cell Phones, Personal Information, and Your Identity

by Radek M. Gadek · 0 comments

In today’s communication driven world cell phones are a near necessity and within this new need a new type of danger lurks. As you may know, cellular phones serve as great devices to call for some take out or text message to vote for your favorite American Idol. What’s more, the little electronic device is handy in browsing the Internet, playing music, and storing information.

Information is the emerging “new force” that drives us to extreme lengths to obtain it and retain it. Unfortunately, with the advent of portable technology (cell phones, PDAs, laptops, etc.) the rise in theft of personal and financial information has become quite substantial.

In the near future cell phones will be as powerful as the computers we depend on today. But we are already using cell phones as we would use computers. We store an enormous amount of information on these devices to help us live a more comfortable life. Some of the things we store on our cell phones may contain sensitive information, for instance:

  • names, addresses, phone numbers
  • documents that can be opened via text viewing and editing software
    • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
    • Microsoft Word (.doc)
    • spreadsheets
    • and many other readable formats
  • financial information
    • bank account numbers
    • credit card numbers
    • pin numbers
  • maps
    • to our home
    • to our work
    • to our best friend
    • etc.
  • social security numbers, ID numbers, driver’s license numbers
  • passwords
  • birthdays

You may not store all, or even some of this information. Perhaps, you may say that this list of things is absurd – who in their right mind would store so much identifying information on their cell phone. The answer is simple, sort of:

  • those who don’t know the consequences of identity theft and fraud
  • those who are not educated about id theft; the blissfully ignorant
  • those who know but find the comfort too irresistible
  • those who would never dream that their cell phone can get hacked even with a secure password on
  • those who don’t care

Okay, maybe it is not as simple to understand individual choices, but it is important to know that people who embrace technology are more willing to take a gamble. If someone was to store half of the information types listed they would make it much easier for identity theft and fraud to happen.

The types of information residing on your cell phone may equal a relatively small inconvenience if you were to loose your phone with just names and phone numbers in it, versus, having some of your very sensitive personal information (pictures of your ID or social security card) and financial facts (banking info or stored credit card numbers for online purchases) exposed to identity thieves, con artists, and other criminals who would gladly thank you for a new cell phone plan, credit card, or even a car.

I know that the preceding paragraph was just a big run-on sentence, but it could take a blink of an eye for your identity to be stolen. Protect yourself by reading up more about the dangers of identity theft and safe solutions to this white collar crime by reading this blog. If you thought that this post was bizarre you have more to see. I wish you all the best. Oh… and please keep your phone on silent at the movies. Thanks.

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