With recent reports that smartphone theft is on the rise nationwide, we thought it might be a good idea to provide consumers with a few tips on how to protect yourself and your devices from landing into the wrong hands.
“Thieves know that carrying a smartphone is like carrying $500 in your hands,” said Kevin Mahaffey, a co-founder of Lookout, a San Francisco-based mobile security firm. His company estimates that stolen and lost cell phones could cost American consumers more than $30 billion this year.
That being said, we suggest keeping the following guidelines in mind when it comes to your smartphone.
It can be tempting to use your smartphone throughout the day, but you should be aware of your surroundings. Some thieves will snatch devices from unsuspecting users, even while they have the phone right up to their ear. It only takes a matter of seconds for a skilled thief to grab and run, particularly on subways, busses, and passing on crowded streets. Monitoring your surroundings can decrease the likelihood that you will be an oblivious target.
Do Not Leave Smartphones Unattended
Many smartphone users will leave their devices on coffee shop tables, car seats, and other highly visible locations. A car window is a surprisingly ineffective crime deterrent, so even while in the comfort of your own vehicle; don’t leave your phone clearly visible on the passenger seat. An obvious, but important rule to always follow is to never leave your smartphone unattended in a public place.
Most new smartphones are equipped with some useful security features. At the very least, most devices have a password option, so to provide protection from thieves accessing information on your phone, you should utilize this opportunity. As soon as you activate your phone, you should set a secure password. Try to change the password regularly and avoid passwords that are easy to guess, such as passwords that include your name.
Download Anti-Theft Apps
App developers have created some very useful anti-theft apps. App features include the ability to track, lock, or erase a smartphone. Tracking apps can help the police find your stolen phone, and this app is also helpful if you misplace your device. Locking apps will remotely lock your smartphone, so most thieves will not be able to obtain your personal information. Apps that remotely erase the information on your smartphone are useful if it is unlikely that your device will be found and returned to you.
Losing significant data or precious pictures can be devastating, so it is a good idea to prepare for the worst case scenario. You should regularly save your important files to another device or cloud service. This practice can also save you from the headache caused by a malfunctioning smartphone.
Smartphones are still relatively expensive, and a theft is unlikely to be scheduled for a time that is financially convenient. Obtaining insurance for your device may be a good idea as you never know what will happen and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, potentially saving you money in the long run. You can acquire coverage from your wireless provider or a third party company.
If you are unfortunate enough to have your smartphone stolen, the first thing you should do is report it immediately to your wireless provider so you can avoid incurring any charges on the improper use. You should also consider informing the authorities and see if they have any luck in tracking your phone and locating the thief.