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LifeStyle Newsletter - A Sturdy Case Isn’t All You Need to Protect Your Smartphone

October 04, 2017

Smartphones are incredibly handy. That may be why about three of every four Americans own them.1 On average, smartphone users spend almost three hours a day – 86 hours every month – using their phones. They send texts and email, interact on social media, listen to music and podcasts, watch videos or movies, take and send pictures, play games, read eBooks and online publications, get directions, make payments, and much more.2

Of course, there is a price for all that convenience. Smartphones can make their owners vulnerable. Norton, a cyber security firm, recently reported phone hijacking has become all too common. Cybercriminals contact a mobile service provider, pretend to be the account holder, and request the mobile service be transferred to a new phone. If they’ve stolen your personal data, convincing a phone company representative the request is legitimate isn’t that difficult.2

Norton reports once the phone has been hijacked:3

“The criminal can now reset the passwords on every account that uses the phone number for auto recovery. The victim’s phone may also be used to hack into other aspects of his or her life. With access to payment apps, emails, photographs, financial sites, and other sensitive data, the criminal can use it to steal money or blackmail and threaten the victim. Even sites that use two-factor authentication may now be accessed.”

Common sense and some smart safety precautions can help protect your phone number and online accounts. For instance:

• Use different usernames and passwords for different accounts. If you create unique email addresses to use with your mobile service provider and sensitive financial accounts, hijacking your smartphone and online accounts will be far more difficult.4
• Add a passcode to your mobile account. Instead of using the last four digits of your Social Security number, create a unique passcode that must be provided to the customer service rep at your mobile provider before any changes are made.4
• Don’t click on suspicious links or access content accompanied by a warning. As they say, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Use common sense before clicking on links or ignoring warnings provided by your phone, especially when using public Wi-Fi.5
• Don’t allow online or telephone account changes. Tell your mobile provider that any changes to your account must be made in person with a photo ID. It’s not foolproof, but it’s an additional hurdle thieves must clear.4

It’s a good idea to take steps to protect your accounts as soon as possible. Whether you have taken action or not, if your phone stops receiving a signal or indicates only emergency calls are available, contact your cell phone provider immediately. Your phone may have been hijacked.3

Comfort Food: Memories of Home
Comfort food means different things to different people. For some, peanut butter and fluff sandwiches invoke feelings of well-being. For others, fried baloney, matzo ball soup, or meatloaf may conjure contentment. If you’re looking for some great comfort food, Southern Living recommended this recipe:6

King Ranch Chicken Mac & Cheese
½ (16 oz) package cellentani pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 (8 oz) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10-¾ oz) can cream of chicken soup
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1-½ cups (6 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles and prepared cheese product; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until cheese melts. Stir in chicken, the next 4 ingredients, and hot cooked pasta until blended. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 10-inch cast iron skillet or 11” x 7” glass baking dish; sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

What Do You Know About Millennials?
Millennials suffer a lot of mudslinging. A recent article in Buzzfeed listed headlines from publications announcing various things Millennials have “killed.” The list included the golf industry, the movie business, the paper napkin industry, the vacation, and bar soap.7 Whew! Instead of jumping on the hyperbole bandwagon, see what you know about Millennials by taking this quiz.

1. Millennials were born:8
a. After 2001
b. From 1981 to 2000
c. From 1965 to 1980
d. From 1946 to 1964
e. From 1927 to 1945

2. Which of the following people are Millennials?9, 10
a. Mark Zuckerberg
b. Malala Yousafzai
c. Kim Jong Un
d. Adele
e. All of the above

3. Millennials are more likely than other generations to:11
a. Be unemployed
b. Use the library
c. Ride bikes
d. Live on their own
e. All of the above

4. Millennials are the largest generation in the United States. They:12
a. Account for more than $1 trillion in consumer spending
b. Believe money is the best measure of success
c. Think most people can be trusted
d. A and B
e. A and C

What Do Baby Boomers Know?
Each successive generation of Americans has its own traits and peculiarities, as well as a body of shared knowledge. For example, members of Gen X are likely to know which actor’s car George Kostanza thought he was buying on ‘Seinfeld.’ Millennials are likely to know the name of Kanye West’s fashion line, and members of Gen Z can probably name a few popular social media influencers.13, 14

While relatively few Baby Boomers may know what a social media influencer is, the ‘me’ generation has its own nostalgia points. Buzzfeed recently listed a few. They included:15

• Banana seat bicycles
• Chatty Cathy dolls
• TV dinners
• Easy Bake Ovens
• Howdy Doody
• Roller skates
• Pet rocks
• Pong
• Transistor radios
• Tab
• Mood rings
• View-Master

The article neglected to mention landline phones with tangled eight-foot cords. Those cords gave teenage boomers a modicum of privacy while chatting with friends and monopolizing the family’s only phone line.

During the holidays, it may be fun to create a generational trivia game. Have each generation of your family come up with questions and answers they think will stump other generations. Make the reward something that will appeal to everyone. Perhaps, the winners won’t have to do the dishes!

Quiz Answers:
1. B – 1981-2000
2. E – All of the above
3. B – Use the library
4. E – A and C

The above material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.