OKLAHOMA CITY - More and more people are using their mobile phones to make banking transactions. According to a March 2014 report released by the Federal Reserve, the number has risen from 28 to 33 percent in just one year. The report also showed 87 percent of the U.S. adult population has a mobile phone, with 61 percent having a smartphone.

"Mobile devices have always been a target for cybercriminals," said Elaine Dodd, Oklahoma Bankers Association vice president. "As more banking transactions are conducted on them, the more cybercriminals focus on them. Oklahoma community banks are working hard to protect customer information and customers play a significant role in keeping their information safe. It doesn't matter what type of device it is, if it is connected to the Internet, it is at risk for an attack."

Here's how to protect yourself:

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This makes it more difficult for thieves to access your information if the device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session or any financial transaction.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Beware of any app that asks for unnecessary "permissions."
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you're punching in sensitive information.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer's recommended technique.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.