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Smartphones have revolutionised a huge range of things, from social media to online shopping. With more than half of all internet use be done on phones, it’s imperative that you use the best internet security practices.

We want you to be able to detect a fraudulent phone call or text when you get it, as well as know the best way to look after your information when you’re using your phone. Some of it might seem intuitive – such as not giving out sensitive information somewhere that you can be overheard or watched. But some of it might not be so obvious, such as turning off your Wi-Fi when in a public place and submitting information online.

Read our guide to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay safe while using your phone.

Recognising fraud

Fraudsters can try to trick you into giving out personal and confidential information, including bank account details, over the phone. This is known as ‘Vishing’. The fraudulent text message equivalent to this is known as ‘Smishing’.

Fraudsters may claim to be from a reputable organisation or claim that your account has been compromised and that action is required.

We will never ask you to transfer money to a new account so ignore such calls or texts.

When in doubt about a call or text claiming to be from us, report it and do not act on it unless you can confirm it’s genuine.

Top tips for avoiding fraud

Wait at least 10 minutes after hanging up – criminals who have called your landline can stay on the line for up to 5 minutes, even after you have hung up.

Then, to be sure that the fraudster has disconnected, call someone you know before using the phone again or use a different line to report the incident to us.

Never allow a cold caller to take remote access of your computer – sometimes fraudsters make phone calls, claiming to be from a reputable IT organisation, to offer assistance.

Never respond to suspicious text messages or click on links contained within. These links may lead to malicious content.

Using public Wi-Fi on your phone

When you access public Wi-Fi, you can never be sure who has set up the network and, more importantly, you don’t know who is connected to it. Malicious users could intercept anything you are doing online including capturing your passwords and reading private emails.

  • Use 3G or 4G instead of public Wi-Fi when entering personal information, where possible.
  • If you see anything suspicious, report your concerns to the manager of the organization providing access to the Wi-Fi.
  • Don’t install any system or application updates on your mobile phone or computer whilst using public Wi-Fi.

Making sure you’re not advertising to fraudsters

Always make sure that you’re not being watched. This isn’t always practical – for instance when you’re travelling by train – so it’s better to reschedule your call than to risk your details being overheard.

The same goes with using your phone when people may be able to see what you’re doing.

Keeping your device safe

As well as obvious things like a protective case, you can take steps to make sure your device is safe by following a few simple tips.

When downloading apps, go directly to a legitimate source

For example use the official App store or the Play store and be cautious when downloading apps accessed by clicking on a link.

Remotely wipe your smart phone or tablet if it’s lost or stolen

This will prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

Secure access to your device

Use a strong PIN, password, passcode or fingerprint detection to access your device.

It's important to remember to wipe all data on any device if you intend to sell it or pass on to someone else. That way, they won't have any access to your personal information.