3 On Your Side

Keep your private information safe when paying bills by phone

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Buying items online is made easier with apps but it's also easier for hackers to get to your private information. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Buying items online is made easier with apps but it's also easier for hackers to get to your private information. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
According to the Consumer Federation of America, some apps store more information about you than you realize like your name, home address and email address. (Source: consumerfed.org) According to the Consumer Federation of America, some apps store more information about you than you realize like your name, home address and email address. (Source: consumerfed.org)
Apps can even track your phone's whereabouts, where you shop, what you buy and how much you spend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Apps can even track your phone's whereabouts, where you shop, what you buy and how much you spend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

It may be getting easier to use your phone to make purchases these days but it's also getting easier for hackers to get to your private information.

Typically, when using your phone to buy things, you need to use an app either from a bank, credit card or a third party like PayPal.

But according to the Consumer Federation of America, some apps store more information about you than you realize like your name, home address and email address.

They may also keep records of your calls and texts, the contacts on your phone, your calendar and websites you visit.

Apps can even track your phone's whereabouts, where you shop, what you buy and how much you spend.

Some apps may share your information with other companies, but there are simple steps to keep private information safe.

They include lock your phone when you're not using it, read an app's privacy policy and know who gets what information.

Experts also suggest to be careful when using public Wi-Fi because hackers and scammers can access your sensitive banking information.

The next time you think about paying by phone, also remember to protect yourself.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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