We can rely on our smartphones for so much of our day-to-day activities — from paying bills to online shopping. There can be a lot of personal information on our phones, and just the thought of losing it might send nightmarish chills down your back. Fortunately, Marius Angneli, a cybersecurity and finance expert at Arrow Finance Group, offers a few preventative measures that may help protect your information should you find yourself in this situation.

1. Craft a Strong Password

The first line of defense to keeping your important information safe might just be be a strong password. “You would be surprised at how many of our clients use things like Password123 or their own names for important financial information,” says Angneli, “The trick is to make sure your password is long and different from any of your other social media sign-ins.”

Angelli also emphasizes that the password shouldn’t be something personal that people could easily figure out. “Try to avoid personal information like birthdays, addresses — anything that could be learned about you through a casual search.”

2. Don’t Save Important Information on Your Phone

“This is a hard one for many of our clients because we take our phones everywhere and they serve as our own personal databases,” says Angneli. “But we urge them to never save credit card or other personal information on websites or password managers because it leaves you more vulnerable to hackers.”

It can feel like a drag to constantly have to enter in our information when paying bills or shopping online — especially when your smartphone can make it so easy — but taking that simple preventative measure might save you heartache and money in the long run. However, if your phone is lost, stolen or hacked, it can be a good idea to call your phone service provider so they can walk you through remotely wiping information off your phone.

3. Take Advantage of Security Alerts

“One of the most underutilized tools in cybersecurity we find is what we call ‘multi-factor authentication,'” says Angneli. “This solution utilizes your smartphone to serve as another form of validation.”

Angneli explains how the process works: “After entering your username and password as you normally would, a unique and random code will be sent to your mobile device. You will need to enter this code before access is permitted.”

Some websites and mobile applications go as far as to offer voice or email verification in addition to a special mobile code. “If an app or website offers this, take advantage of it. It is the single best option in protecting yourself from fraud, whether you lose your phone or not,” says Angneli. Many banks and credit card issuers also offer multi-factor authentication in the way of security alerts should they find that there is suspicious activity on your account, says NerdWallet.

These alerts can help to catch fraud issues immediately. “I always make sure my younger clients applying for a credit card for the first time choose one with a robust fraud protection. It can be scary to have your information stolen, but if you choose wisely it can make protecting yourself as easy as a phone call to your credit card issuer,” says Angneli.

4. What You Can Do After Your Phone Is Lost or Stolen

“First things first: don’t panic and act quickly,” says Angneli. “It’s going to be annoying for a few days, but the good news is companies have put in a lot of effort to keep you safe and to minimize any damage should you find yourself in this situation.”

After you’ve changed all your passwords, you can call your credit card issuer and bank to inform them that you may be at risk for fraud. They can either cancel your old card and issue you a new one, or put a temporary fraud hold on your accounts.

“I also recommend calling or texting your phone to see if someone answers,” says Angneli. “I know it seems silly, but I’ve seen cases where clients have merely misplaced their device and it was found by a good Samaritan, and they were able to retrieve it by just calling.”

If that isn’t the case for you, you should call your phone provider and let them know your phone was lost or stolen. “Always err on the side of caution and let your phone company know so they don’t charge you for any usage while the phone is not in your possession,” says Angneli.

Additionally, when you first get your device, make sure to check with your phone provider to see what kind of insurance they offer; that way, if anything happens, you’ll know you’re covered.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.