Should you fear mobile banking on your cell phone?

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Do you like the ease of banking over the phone? Or do you fear something happening to your personal information?

ABC 4 got the results of a recent experiment involving smart phones, and what happens when they are lost, then found by a stranger.

But what can you do to protect yourself if you loose your phone?
It’s happened to April Tucker a lot

“I have lost it traveling. I have put it down,” said Tucker.

So she's nervous about mobile banking. Even though it's catching on with the masses, she's still among those who say no way.

"Just having it on your phone is just an additional way for someone to hack into your information,” said Tucker.

A recent experiment gives her all the more reason to be concerned.  The computer software company Symantec intentionally lost 50 phones in four cities around the United States, just to see what would happen when they were found.

Special software was installed to track the phones, and what people did with them.

In half the cases, the finder tried to return the cell. But not before they did a little snooping…

"People looked at private pics, they tried to access a banking account, logging into a person's bank,” said Kevin Haley with Symantec.

43% actually tried to access banking apps and 57% went into a saved password file.

Still, Doug Johnson, with the American Bankers Association's risk management unit, hopes April, and others, reconsider.

He says with proper steps, it's safe to bank on your smart phone.

First, create a password just to be able to use the phone.

“You don't want people to be able to get right into the phone,” said Johnson.

Then create different passwords for each mobile account that's tied to your money. It may be a lot to keep straight, but he warns you not to use the 'remember this password' option when it appears.

“It kind of defeats the purpose of the password,” said Johnson.

And, there are a lot of new special software and apps to protect you if your phone goes missing.

“There's also some other great technology out there that would let you remotely wipe all your personal information and business information off that phone,” said Johnson.

There's even a feature called scream.

“The scream feature is going to make your phone let out a loud noise, a scream, so you can identify where you've left it,” said Johnson.

Or scare a thief into dumping it. But if you don't have the extras, Johnson does offer some advice in case your phone goes missing.

“You misplaced your phone, you believe you haven't taken proper measures, contact your financial institution,” said Johnson.

Despite available precautions April Tucker remains a skeptic when it comes to banking on anything other than her laptop.

“I'm not comfortable with having a bank app on my phone,” said Tucker.

Experts also point out that mobile phone security improves from year to year...

Financial companies have learned a great deal of phone safety by using the lessons they learned with online banking protections.

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