U.S. Markets closed

4 ways you can get hacked through your smartphone

Here are some mobile scams that every consumer should know about.

The relationship between smartphones and securing personal information can be complicated.

On the one hand, banking and payment apps have made it easier than ever to stay on top of our finances. At the same time, they require us to enter private information, like our bank account numbers, which could become vulnerable if our phones are hacked or stolen.

Most banking apps are protected by software that verify your identity when you log in. Many also use financial companies like Payfone to verify the phone that’s attempting to log into a banking or financial app. Payfone is used by six of the top 10 banks in the United States.

Even so, not all apps have up-to-date security features, and some may leave the door open for interference. Even more, customers often choose convenience over security safeguards and criminals are constantly improving their hacking methods. All of this leaves consumers vulnerable to theft.

When it comes to managing money, Bank of America found that 54% of consumers use a mobile banking app, with 84% accessing their financial information from their phones at least once a week. Mobile accessibility provides convenience, but it also opens consumers up to fraud. Here are some mobile scams that every consumer should know about.

Hackers taking control of your phone

Picture this: You get an email saying that the passwords on your email and social media accounts have been changed. There’s one problem, you didn’t’ change them. This happened to Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson in 2016, when a thief impersonating him called Verizon and changed his SIM. This allowed the thief to bypass the two-factor verification he had in place on his phone, and take control of his social media accounts.

“By phishing your credentials, thieves can get into your phone.  They change your password so you’re locked out, and they find ways to steal your money,” said Rodger Desai, CEO of Payfone.

Hackers are incredibly savvy, but there are some things you can do to safeguard your information. First, create a PIN on your wireless carrier account. This way, if someone calls your carrier, they won’t be able to make important changes without that four-digit number. That said, make sure your PIN original. Do not use your birthdate or the last four digits of your social security number. Thanks to the massive Equifax hack, this personal information is probably easily accessible to thieves.

In the event that a hacker breaks into your phone, you can also enable extra security measures on specific apps.

Take Venmo, for example. Under the settings tab, you can enable Touch ID to be used every time the app is opened. If this feature isn’t enabled, anyone can simply log into Venmo on your phone and drain your bank account.

Most financial apps also have the option to require a passcode or Touch ID before gaining access, including Mint, ETrade, and most banking apps. Ensuring that this feature is enabled can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your assets.

Criminals calling for one-time PINs

Over the last five years, banks have drastically improved the ways in which they notify customers of fraudulent activity. Depending on your notification preferences, banks typically send you a text or email notification asking you to verify a large or unusual purchase.  

What most banks won’t do is call you on the phone.

Hackers have the ability to remotely take control of your phone.

“Don’t trust anyone asking you for anything over the phone. You should never give your information if it is requested through a voice call, don’t pay anyone that’s calling you,” said Desai.

According to Desai,  thieves have been hacking into phones and using the “I forgot my password” prompt. This sends a code to the customer’s phone. Moments later, the thief will call the phone owner, posing as a customer service representative, and ask the customer to repeat the one-time code over the phone. Just like that, the hacker now has the ability to change your password and access your personal information.

“No one will ever send you a PIN and then call and ask for it.” Desai repeated.

Purchase online, pick-up in store

Let’s say a criminal accesses your credit card number and makes some online purchases. Over time retailers have gotten more savvy with security, and it raises some red flags if a purchase is sent to a shipping address that differs from the billing address.

To get around this, thieves have started using in-store pick-up when making online or mobile purchases. In many cases, retail websites give you the option to assign an alternative person to pick up the purchased item. So, criminals can get around the issue of showing an ID.

Even worse, criminals are using the in-store option to misdirect retailers.

“Many fraudsters use the in-store pickup in conjunction with shipped orders as a way to bypass fraud screens, because merchants tend to consider orders with in-store pickup as less risky since they can check customer information at the store,” wrote payment management company CyberSource in 2013.

Accessing your cardless ATM transaction

Today, banks like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are experimenting with a mobile feature that allows customers to initiate an account withdrawal on their phones and then remove the cash from an ATM machine by using their digital wallet (a virtual version of your credit card) or a one-time PIN. These options mean that your debit card is not needed.  Typically, there is a cap of $250 to $500 for ATM withdrawals, but this new feature often bumps the maximum withdrawal up to $3,000. This works great if you lost your debit card, but for thieves, it’s just a new way to rip you off.

Desai said that some criminals have used the convenience to extort money from families. Thieves may call a customer and claim to have someone they love held hostage. The customer is then instructed to initiate a cashless ATM withdrawal, and are forced to give the criminals the PIN over the phone. The criminals never had anyone held hostage, but now they have the PIN and your money.

In a more likely scenario, if a hacker manages to take control of your phone, they could access your banking app and initiate a cashless ATM transaction. So again, it would be wise to enable the Touch ID security feature or a complicated password to thwart access into your banking app.

“Consumers expect convenience, but it’s creating more and more holes that companies need to protect,” said Desai.

Brittany is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. 

The New York City hustle every tourist needs to know about 

5 ways you can get fined for things you do every day

6 ways you can get fined while traveling abroad

  • Can AMD Stock Go on a Bull Run Once Again?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Can AMD Stock Go on a Bull Run Once Again?

    Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) shares have fallen off a cliff over the past month, as investors are probably concerned about whether it can sustain its rally in the face of a fading tailwind and rising competition. The chipmaker has minted a lot of money thanks to cryptocurrency mining, but that catalyst is fizzling out and rival NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) has launched a new generation of graphics chips to reclaim its lost market share. AMD blames weak GPU sales to the cryptocurrency market for this slowdown, but recent developments indicate that it could easily surpass the low-balled guidance.

  • Which Canadian Marijuana Stock Will Enjoy a Bigger Bump From Its NYSE Listing -- Aphria or Aurora?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Which Canadian Marijuana Stock Will Enjoy a Bigger Bump From Its NYSE Listing -- Aphria or Aurora?

    Maybe Wall Street should be called "Weed Street." Big Canadian marijuana grower Canopy Growth listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) earlier this year. Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH: ACBFF) begins trading on the NYSE on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Aphria (NASDAQOTH: APHQF) filed last week to list its stock on the NYSE.

  • Better Buy: Ford Motor Company vs. General Motors
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: Ford Motor Company vs. General Motors

    Both Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) have been investor favorites in the not-too-distant past, and both pay good dividends. Ford has a slew of new products on the way, starting with a brand-new Ranger pickup early next year. Ford and GM have both had a rough year in the stock market.

  • Kamala Harris proposes new tax credit
    Politics
    Fox Business Videos

    Kamala Harris proposes new tax credit

    “Bulls & Bears” panel discusses how Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is proposing a new tax credit, which would provide families making less than $100,000 a year with an extra $500 a month.

  • This Warren Buffett Stock Is Dirt Cheap Right Now
    Business
    Motley Fool

    This Warren Buffett Stock Is Dirt Cheap Right Now

    Warren Buffett has amassed a large portfolio of bank stocks for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) with major holdings in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), and American Express (NYSE: AXP), just to name a few of the most well-known and largest investments. Synchrony is a major issuer of store-branded credit cards and also operates a rapidly growing online banking platform.

  • Netflix to Investors: Get Ready For More Cash Burn
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Netflix to Investors: Get Ready For More Cash Burn

    Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) investors have been giving the streamer another round of applause since the latest earnings report. It was an all-around solid report: Total subscriber growth easily beat estimates, with the company adding 7 million members against a forecast of just 5 million. Netflix naysayers, however, will find more to complain about in the company's cash burn rate, as management gave them more fodder with its forecast.

  • 3 Dividend Stocks That Pay You More Than Coca-Cola Does
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Dividend Stocks That Pay You More Than Coca-Cola Does

    With a better than 50-year history of paying dividends, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) is seen as an icon of stable, strong, secure payouts. Although Coke and its dividend are not in trouble, there are better investments to be found. Three stocks that these Motley Fool contributors particularly like are Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), and MGM Growth Properties (NYSE: MGP).

  • Better Buy: Aurora Cannabis Inc. vs. Canopy Growth Corporation
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: Aurora Cannabis Inc. vs. Canopy Growth Corporation

    Canadian marijuana producers have entered a new era. After several years of supplying medical marijuana nationwide, they have begun moving into Canada's recreational marijuana market, which opened on Oct. 17. Canopy's share price has soared three times higher than Aurora's has.

  • With crude around $70, it’s time to sell your oil stocks
    News
    MarketWatch

    With crude around $70, it’s time to sell your oil stocks

    The energy sector has been whipsawed by headlines lately, and many investors can’t decide whether to buy or sell oil stocks. When oil (CLX8) raced up to a new 52-week high of more than $76 to start October, many thought things looked great. Then as U.S. oil supplies rose and as OPEC production rose, things didn’t look so hot.

  • Hate Taxes? 37 States Make Social Security Tax Free
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Hate Taxes? 37 States Make Social Security Tax Free

    Over the course of your career, you'll probably have tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security payroll taxes withheld from your paychecks. Workers are confident that by paying those taxes up front, they'll be able to collect Social Security benefits

  • Suze Orman has a killer question for your retirement
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Suze Orman has a killer question for your retirement

    Suze Orman is one of those singular personalities in the financial business who seems to be right on the pulse of everyone she meets. She’s written books, starred in her own television show and made innumerable appearances in person. Like Oprah

  • Jackpot stocks that could make you a billionaire
    GILD
    CNBC Videos

    Jackpot stocks that could make you a billionaire

    Following on the Mega Millions madness, the traders give you stocks that could make you a billionaire. With CNBC's Frank Holland and Melissa Lee, and the Fast Money traders, Tim Seymour, Steve Grasso, Brian Kelly and Dan Nathan.

  • The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs
    News
    MarketWatch

    The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs

    When the media and investors turn negative on stocks but the “smart money” is bullish, it’s a good time to think about buying. After all, exactly what is the smart money, and how do you know? Lately, several fund managers who pass this test have been pounding the table on Chinese internet names.

  • 3 Energy Stocks You Can Buy and Hold for the Next Decade
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Energy Stocks You Can Buy and Hold for the Next Decade

    North America needs to build $23 billion of new natural gas-related infrastructure annually through 2035, according to a recent report. Three of the best positioned to capture this growth are Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI), Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB), and TransCanada (NYSE: TRP), making them great stocks to buy and hold in the coming decade. Kinder Morgan is already the largest natural gas pipeline company in North America, operating roughly 70,000 miles of pipeline.

  • 3 Top Stocks Under $5
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Top Stocks Under $5

    If you're looking for cheap stocks, focusing too much on share price is a mistake. Companies like Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), and Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ: ASNA) have mounted impressive comebacks over the past year, and the future could hold even further gains if the industry conditions that they face take a turn for the better.

  • 3 Great Stocks Under $10
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Great Stocks Under $10

    Among the stocks you can currently purchase for less than $10 per share are Sirius XM Holdings (NASDAQ: SIRI), Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY), and Infosys (NYSE: INFY), and below, we'll take a look at how long they're likely to remain this cheap for would-be investors. Sirius XM was a pioneer in the satellite radio industry, and it's been an investor favorite for years.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Morgan Stanley's Recipe For Strong Q4 Guidance From Tesla

    Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is set to report third-quarter earnings data in early November after a whirlwind of a quarter that included a chain of events that began Aug. 7 with CEO Elon Musk’s “funding secured” tweet and ended with a Securities and Exchange

  • 1 Top Stock to Buy Amid October’s Turbulent Market
    Business
    Motley Fool

    1 Top Stock to Buy Amid October’s Turbulent Market

    In the past three weeks alone, stocks have tumbled about 5%, which has many investors unnerved. One top option to consider amid the current turbulence is Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE: MMP), which has lost more than 5% of its value in the past few weeks. Because of that, investors can get an even better starting price on one of the top master limited partnerships (MLPs), potentially setting themselves up to earn market-beating returns in the coming years.

  • 3 Warren Buffett Stocks Worth Buying Now
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Warren Buffett Stocks Worth Buying Now

    Known as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett has collected both an incredible investment record and a deservedly vast following among investors of all types. Every move he makes is scrutinized in the hope of gleaning  wisdom from his investment choices.

  • Better Buy: GW Pharmaceuticals PLC vs. 22nd Century Group Inc.
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: GW Pharmaceuticals PLC vs. 22nd Century Group Inc.

    GW Pharmaceuticals has been the better-performing stock so far in 2018 -- but not by a wide margin. Any discussion about the merits of GW Pharmaceuticals stock has to start with Epidiolex. In June, Epidiolex made history as it became the first plant-based cannabinoid drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • How the Heck Did Netflix Stock Go Down Last Week?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    How the Heck Did Netflix Stock Go Down Last Week?

    Everything seemed to go right for Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) last week. It has another hit on its hands with The Haunting of Hill House, an eight-part horror series based on Shirley Jackson's novel that has even won the praise of the immortal Stephen King. Netflix is killing it, but investors are unfortunately singing a different tune.

  • 3 Stocks to Supplement Your Social Security Income
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks to Supplement Your Social Security Income

    Social Security isn't meant to replace your entire paycheck. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK), and W.P. Carey Inc. (NYSE: WPC) are three great options to consider. Enterprise Products Partners is one of the largest midstream energy companies in North America, offering a generous distribution yield of roughly 6%.

  • Here's Which Marijuana Stocks Investors Are Betting Against the Most
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Here's Which Marijuana Stocks Investors Are Betting Against the Most

    Canada's recreational marijuana market is now open for business. Some are confident enough that certain marijuana stocks will fall that they're putting a lot of money on the line expecting that's exactly what will happen. The marijuana grower's low stock float and wild swings over the last month have received a lot of attention.

  • Procter & Gamble Finally Has Some Good News for Investors
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Procter & Gamble Finally Has Some Good News for Investors

    It has taken some time, but Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) shareholders are finally seeing improving results out of the consumer products titan. P&G paired that positive revenue news with an uptick in profitability, too. P&G's expansion rate sped up significantly, with help from strong sales volumes and steady pricing.

  • Why Valero Energy, eBay, and New Age Beverages Slumped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Valero Energy, eBay, and New Age Beverages Slumped Today

    Some major market benchmarks managed to hang onto their gains, but the Nasdaq Composite, and Russell 2000 indexes posted losses of 0.5% to 1.25%, and the S&P 500 was virtually flat. Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), and New Age Beverages (NASDAQ: NBEV) were among the worst performers on the day. Valero Energy dropped 10% after the refinery company announced that it would buy back all outstanding units of its related MLP, Valero Energy Partners (NYSE: VLP).