It's been all over the news lately.  Large department store chains and restaurants have been hacked.  Here are some tips I dug up to help keep your mobile device safe.


Getty Images News / Chris McGrath

The tech community and security people pretty much agree that the most important thing you should do is lock your device with a unique four digit PIN and don't use obvious words or numbers as passwords for sensitive websites like bank accounts.

In the event your mobile device is lost or stolen, you could be susceptible to some unsavory person who may steal your personal data.  That means they could have access to your bank accounts, phones numbers, and private messages.

Don't use passwords like "1-2-3-4", or numbers such as your street address. Don't use your name or even the name of someone in your family.  Set passwords that are easy to remember but at the same time very difficult for someone guess.

Never ever leave your device unattended in a public place.  It could disappear in a nano second.  Always have it in your hand or securely put away.

While we're on the subject of public places, let's touch on Wi-Fi.

Most of us frequently log into a Wi-Fi network.  They're everywhere now.

Keep in mind, once you log on to a public Wi-Fi network criminals can gain access to your data.  Security people say to be very careful and only log on to a "secure" network.  Even on a "secure" public network it's not a good idea to do online banking or make purchases.  It's fine if you want to read the news, listen to NJ 101.5, or check the stock market.

And finally, be suspicious of unfamiliar emails and when you're on social media.  Crooks, all day long, successfully use schemes to obtain people's credit card and bank account numbers.

Smartphones and pads can be wonderful, but have the potential to turn into a nightmare.