Photo illustration by J.R. ArebaloApp safely
Our smartphones have made some things about our lives more convenient. We have instant access to social media, games to play, shopping at a click and apps to teach us languages, pay for parking, buy stocks, track our fitness, store health information and much more.

While these apps are very useful, think for a moment about how useful you might be to their creators.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has found mobile app developers are not always straightforward about what their products do. According to the FTC, 59% of apps collect and share information, though only 11% tell users they do and 84% of apps allow in-app purchases, opening people up to unexpected charges.

Even social media apps that purport to have temporary content may not work as advertised — promising to “automatically delete” photos and texts, while content is actually kept and may be discovered later.

Some apps are even designed for malicious purposes like installing malware and stealing banking information and other personal details.
What can you do?
Research apps before you download. Know who created them, for what purpose and what information they are accessing (location, contact list, access to social networks, etc).Keep your mobile operating system and all apps up-to-date and running on current versions as they become available to avoid cyberthreats.Only download apps from trusted stores and pay attention to consumer ratings and how many times an app has been downloaded.Log out of sites after you make a payment.Use services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay to avoid giving merchants your credit card information directly.Use a strong passcode or biometrics (facial recognition/fingerprint) to lock your phone in case it is lost or stolen.Disable geo-tagging to protect information about your location.For sensitive transactions (e.g., banking or shopping) look for “https://” to provide secure communication via a web browser.Do not use financial apps on public Wi-Fi.Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use.Delete apps you are no longer using.