Mobile media devices are becoming an increasingly sought-after consumer product, and tablet computers are at the forefront of that trend. Since Apple ushered in the world’s first tablet — the iPad — other manufacturers have developed alternatives, and they are being bought at an increasing pace. For instance, a 2011 survey by Compass Intelligence showed roughly 58 percent of respondents either had firm plans to buy a tablet or were at least interested in such a purchase over the following year.
While the devices do present consumers with a number of benefits, including portability, functionality and style, they can also put some at a risk for identity theft. Mobile security remains a relatively unexplored field, giving some consumers concern that their identity and good credit score could be compromised by using a tablet. At the same time, there are a few practices that may limit tablet users’ exposure to identity theft.
Consumers still wary on mobile security
A January 2011 report from Harris Interactive showed Americans remained reluctant when it came to transmitting sensitive data through mobile devices. Of the surveyed adults who owned a tablet or smartphone, only 18 percent expressed full confidence in mobile security, while 15 percent said they were not at all assured that their data was safe on these devices. Even so, 48 percent of tablet users admitted to transmitting sensitive data via the device, compared to just 30 percent of smartphone users who did so. That could suggest many consumers view tablets as a slightly more secure device than their phones, even though the devices do not yet have the security capabilities of laptops and computers.
Ways to help protect yourself against identity theft when using a tablet
While it’s up to electronics manufacturers to develop better security measures for tablets, users can take a few measures to protect their good credit score and identity.
- Guard devices — Tablet users should work to keep their device with them at all times, since misplacing a tablet could leave it in the waiting hands of an identity thief.
- Scrutinize app downloads — Apps are one of the main appeals for consumers buying a tablet, but they should be careful when downloading these programs. Data-stealing malware can sometimes attach itself to less reputable third-party apps, making it vital for consumers to download programs only from trusted sources.
- Use password protection — Passwords can be a top security measure against identity theft. Users should create a unique password that uses numbers and letters.