Mobile Security: Reducing Your Risk of Fraud and Scams

From copycat apps to suspicious texts, learn what to watch out for


Like many people, you might have your card and bank account information stored in apps or in the mobile wallet on your cellphone. While mobile banking technology makes online shopping and banking more easily accessible, it has also inspired a new breed of hackers who are on a mission to steal your information.

So how do you protect yourself from cellphone identity theft? If you know what to look out for, these signs could help you identify and prevent mobile and credit card fraud.  

1. Watch Out for Text Scams From Your “Bank”

You receive a text that appears to be from your credit card issuer or bank. You’re told to click on a link to resolve an issue with your account. But there’s a problem—it’s not really your bank. Text phishing, also known as smishing, tries to trick you into installing malware, which steals your personal information

Messages from numbers like “+1410” could be warning signs: Text scams don’t always come from traditional 10-digit phone numbers. If you think a text is suspicious, don’t click on the link. Scammers can design fake sign-in pages. Always sign into your financial institution’s page directly. 

If you suspect people are posing as Capital One, you can report it by emailing abuse@capitalone.com. You can also read more about Capital One’s commitment to protect your personal and financial information.

2. Beware of Calls Asking for Your Personal Info

Hackers may use an even more direct approach to access your personal information—just asking for it. It’s called vishing. And here’s how it happens: A scammer calls to warn you of an issue with your account and asks for your credit card, debit card or Social Security number to fix the problem. Don’t risk it—call your credit card issuer or bank directly to see if there’s really an issue. You can find those numbers on the back of your card or online.

3. Keep an Eye Out for Phony Apps

Another way hackers attempt to access the data on your phone is through potentially harmful apps. If you download one to your mobile device, your personal information could be exposed. These fake apps are sometimes installed by clicking on a link or pop-up ad, but they can also be found in your phone’s app store, like Google Play. 

If you’re not sure an app is safe, do a quick search about it and the developer before you download and install anything.

4. Don’t Trust Fake Friends

If you receive a direct message, follow or friend request from someone you don’t know, be careful. Hackers often use social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to attack mobile devices and computers. If you don’t recognize the person or the link looks suspicious, don’t respond. Delete the message, request or tweet.

Strangers aren’t all you have to worry about. Hackers will check to see who you are friends with, then impersonate them. So if your Aunt Molly reaches out to you asking for money or trying to get you to click on a link, check with her first to confirm if it’s real or fraudulent.

5. Don’t Forget to Clear Your Phone

When it’s time to get rid of your phone, make sure you erase all your personal information. If you don’t, you could leave yourself vulnerable to identity theft. Everything from your address to your bank info could be on your phone. To erase your phone, look on the manufacturer’s website or check with your service provider for instructions.


We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

The information contained herein is shared for educational purposes only, and it does not provide a comprehensive list of all financial operations considerations or best practices.

Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information, or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

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