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GREENVILLE – June is National Safety Month, which is an important time for Eastern North Carolina residents to assess how they are staying safe online as they use cellphones. With nearly 7 billion smartphone users across the world and mobile devices accounting for nearly 60% of online traffic, fraudsters can take advantage of our reliance on constant connectivity.

More than 60% of fraud originated from cellphones, according to RSA Security. Nira.com reports that 70% of internet fraud is committed via mobile devices.

“Smartphones have become an essential part of everyday life for people here in Eastern North Carolina,” said Jeremy Taylor, director of retail operations for Eastern North Carolina. “There are many ways for people to safely use their smartphones, such as creating a strong password that is easy to remember, only using recognizable and trustworthy apps and taking advantage of native security settings on your device.”

UScellular offers six tips to help reduce exposure to mobile security threats.

Be smart on open Wi-Fi networks: When consumers use a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, their phone can be an easy target for cybercriminals. Try to limit the use of public hotspots in favor of a secure network from a trusted network operator or mobile wireless connection to minimize the risk of exposure, especially when personal or sensitive information is accessed.

Don’t forget the family’s safety: With more children online than ever before, it’s important for parents to know their child is protected. UScellular offers a Parent-Child Agreement that helps establish boundaries for families as they better understand how to be safe when using technology in their everyday life.

Install apps from trusted sources: Before an app is downloaded, be sure to conduct research to ensure it is legitimate and trustworthy. An app’s legitimacy can be checked by reading reviews and confirming the app store’s origin. Many apps from untrusted sources can contain viruses that can steal information, install malware and cause harm to a phone’s contents.

Lock it up: The most secure way to lock a smartphone is to use a password and biometric authentication process. Android and iOS users can set or change their screen lock preferences on their phone to secure their devices.

Online privacy apps: DuckDuckGo, ExpressVPN, LastPass, ProtonMail and Signal are Android and iOS apps that can help consumers protect their online privacy.

Regularly accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software: A device’s operating system should be updated regularly by enabling automatic updates or accepting them when prompted from a service provider. Up-to-date operating systems can help reduce the risk of cyber threats.

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