How to Protect Your Digital Wallet

United States By Christy Lowry October 27, 2022

Digital wallets bring users increased security from hackers and card skimmers. New layers of security and ease in making daily purchases and managing money are helping to propel the e-wallets’ popularity. Global usage of digital wallets, as e-commerce transactions, will continue to pick up. A study by Jupiter Research predicts that by 2026, more than 60% of the world population will be using digital wallets.


Learn how protecting your digital wallets helps protect you from potential hackers, skimmers and other common security risks.


Digital Wallets Provide More Security

Generally, digital wallets are safe and secure thanks to their use of tokenization, passwords, 3D Secure, and other modern security technologies that prevent unauthorized third parties from being able to read and understand them. Worries about nefarious card skimming, where a card reader copies credit card numbers and PIN codes, are no longer are a concern with digital wallets.


However, as with any financial transaction, you should always take precautions to safeguard or prevent fraud.


Do This When You Get a New Phone

When you first get your phone (or now, if you haven’t acted already), write down this info: make, model number, serial number, and unique device identification number, and either the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) or the Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) number. (Some phones display the IMEI/MEID number when you dial *#06#.) The IMEI/MEID also can be found on a label located beneath the phone’s battery or on the box that came with the phone. Give this information to the police if your phone is lost or stolen.


Keep Thieves, Hackers, and Skimmers Away

Start with the Obvious


  • Don’t leave your phone visible or unattended. Be sure it’s not left in your car, sitting unattended on a restaurant table, or ready to snag out of an open purse or backpack.
  • Consider your surroundings when using or carrying your smartphone. Don’t become a target of theft.


Do Your Part


  • Lock your phone and wallet app with separate passcodes or methods.
  • Keep an eye out for observers when using your code or swipe pattern to unlock your device.
  • Never use mobile payment services over an unsecured Wi-Fi network. If you typically connect to unsecured networks, consider downloading a reputable virtual private network (VPN) for greater security.
  • Create unique passwords for all your mobile apps. Don’t reuse them from app to app.
  • Install phone updates when you receive them.
  • Install and maintain security software on your smartphone. These apps can help you—
  • Locate your phone from any computer
  • Lock your phone to restrict access
  • Wipe sensitive personal info and mobile wallet credentials from your phone
  • Set up your phone to produce a loud “scream” helping you find it

For more steps you can take to safeguard the information on your phone, see our article Leery of How Digital Wallets Work?


Industry Security Measures Help


  • Credit card company features on your cards add security. These may include tokenization, card verification value (CVV) or card verification code (CVC), fraud monitoring, and chargebacks.
  • The financial institution, bank, credit union, or financial tech company that issued your card adds protection. If enabled, your financial institution sends a one-time password (OTP) to your registered mobile number to confirm your payment. So, if a fraudulent party tries to use your account, the transaction will fail because they don’t have the OTP.


Other Smart Measures to Take


  • Review your financial accounts regularly, ensuring no fraudulent charges show up.
  • Report any fraudulent charges immediately and close those accounts.


What to Do if Your Mobile Device is Lost or Stolen

  • Think your smartphone or mobile device was lost, stolen, or maybe misplaced? Try locating it by calling your phone or by using the security software’s GPS locator.
  • Use the installed security software on your smartphone to lock the device, wipe sensitive personal information and/or activate the alarm.
  • Immediately report the theft or loss to your wireless carrier. Provide your carrier with the IMEI or MEID number, and they may be able to disable your smartphone and mobile payment apps, and block access to your personal information and sensitive data. Request your carrier send you written confirmation that the smartphone was reported missing and was disabled.
  • Report the theft to the police – including the make and model, serial and IMEI or MEID number in your report. A police report can provide documentation that the phone was stolen if your service provider requests it.
  • If you are unable to remotely lock your stolen or lost phone, take these actions immediately: 1) Change all your passwords for mobile payment apps and any bank or credit card accounts that you have accessed using your smartphone service; and 2) contact those financial institutions about the loss or theft.


If You’ve Been a Victim of Fraud and Need Help

If your phone or information has been stolen and you find out money has been transferred from your banking accounts via Western Union, contact us immediately on our Fraud Hotline at 1-800-448-1492.


Fraud or theft of your personal information can also threaten all your finances. Western Union has information to help you be aware and educated about different types of fraud. Learn more to protect yourself from scams through phone calls, mails, and emails, where someone is trying to get banking, credit card, financial or personal information from you.


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