Congrats! You’ve probably just begun your journey into holiday shopping madness, and if you’re like me, you’re already finding yourself bombarded by apps. “Download this app and save.” “Pay with our app and receive a million reward points.” Apps, apps, apps. But, is it ok to download all these apps? You hear so much about identity theft, credit card skimming and all these other risks to your personal information and your finances. So, what’s a girl to do? I set off to investigate.
Just like they say “Don’t judge a book by its cover, ” you should apply this to all the applications you download too. You can’t just decide if an app is safe by looking at it.
I use my phone for pretty much everything. I check my email, manage my money, check my bank account, make payments, and of course do everything social media related, so I focused on phone apps.
Here are a few tips for deciding if you really should download or not.
- Rely On Trusted Sources: Stick with the Big Ones
The main major app stores are your friends; Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Apple iTunes and Microsoft Windows Store etc. While downloading your apps from those resources doesn’t guarantee they are safe, these stores do have strict guidelines that give you a little more assurance that the apps you find there are not buggy, spammy or otherwise unsafe or fake.
- Do Some Research
Even when an app is in an official app store, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is 100% safe. Look into the application you are about to download; read the reviews, see what ratings it has and what the description is etc. If the application doesn’t have much information, it’s probably better to look for an alternative.
Every time you download something, you agree to a whole bunch of policies, that, if you are like most of us, you probably never read. Turns out, there’s actually important stuff there. Make sure you know what data the app collects from you, why, how it’s used. Can the app post to your friends without your consent? (Because, trust me, no one really wants to know about your last great move on two dots). If you are sharing personal information, can the app make it available to other apps? (Because you don’t want to get spammed). Your social security number and bank account information are things you shouldn’t share unless you are really sure you are dealing with a trusted source.
- Update your device!
Just like your computers, your phone will notify you when there is an update for your phone. When you receive these notifications it is very important to NOT ignore them! Often they contain important security updates that prevent your phone from getting hacked in addition to providing you improved functionality. Make sure you check monthly to see if all your updates are completed so that you know your phone is secure.
- Protect your phone!
Did you know there is antivirus software, like Avast for your Android phone, that offer protection for your device? If you’re not a fan, at least always make sure Find my iPhone or Find My Phone for Android is on. These can help you if you misplaced your phone, but more importantly, if you think your phone is stolen or seems lost and gone forever, these apps allow you to remote wipe all the crucial information that you have stored on your phone!
Before downloading new apps, do some research! Do you feel confident that it’s a good app? Even if you are at a store, and you are feeling pressured to do a download to take advantage of a promotion, do your homework. No offer is worth putting your personal information at risk. Decide what you want to do. Know how it will affect your phone, and if you are using apps for transactions or store information, make sure you know what information you are sharing and with whom. If you don’t feel confident don’t download it, and hey, if you want us to check it out for you, you can email me, Zara, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Hi, I’m Zara Puskuldjian!
I am from Long Island, New York and I am currently attending my last year as a senior at Lynn University in Boca Raton, majoring in Advertising and PR with a minor in Photography. I love traveling, my friends, family, photography, warm weather and my 3 lbs. min pin, Nova. Oh and how could I forget my undying love for… Chipotle.
I am a firm believer in the wise words of Coco Chanel “Beauty begins the moment you decided to be yourself.” (: