Friday, December 6, 2013

CELL PHONE THEFT- Prevent Theft and Loss

Theft of cell phones can happen to anyone. In many parts of the country cell phone theft appears to be on the rise (see this recent CNET article While cell phone thefts have not had much publicity in the press in the Puget Sound region lately, it can happen here.

It’s wise to take practical measures to protect your cell phone or smart phone from someone grabbing it and running down the street with your contacts and private information. You can do that by protecting your phone and by securing it so that strangers do not have access to your information if you lose it or it is stolen.

To protect your phone, Jessica Dolcourt of CNET makes the following recommendations (

  1. Put a case on your phone. In addition to protecting it from scratches, a case can mask the distinctive markings of your phone. This way if a potential thief is looking for a “hot” phone and yours is a “hot” phone, he or she won’t be attracted to it.
  2. Hold on to your phone firmly in public. When you do have to use you phone walking down the street, hold on to it firmly. Whether you spread your fingers over the phone, or hold onto it with both hands as the author suggests, don’t hold on to your phone lightly. Also, use a Bluetooth device to talk on your smart phone. This way the location of your phone is not obvious to passersby and you can still talk to your friends or associates.
  3. Be alert to your surroundings when using your phone. The author calls this “Adopt a paranoid posture.” You don’t have to look paranoid in a way that attracts attention to yourself. But, like you should be anyway, be aware of your surroundings while using your phone. Don’t be so engrossed in your conversation (or your tunes) that you are not looking around, or walking down the street with confidence and purpose. If you are not aware of your surroundings, you look like you are not aware of what is around you and you become a target for a thief.
  4. “Embrace the art of misdirection.” If a stranger on the bus asks if your phone is that latest, fanciest model that just came out, tell them no. It’s an old model that isn’t working too well.
  5. Keep your phone out of sight and hard to get to. If no one can see your phone, thieves can’t be attracted to it. But even if it is in your pocket, thieves often know the common places where people keep their phones. The best place to store your phone is in an inside pocket of a jacket. Another good place is in an inside pocket of a purse with the clasp closed or the zipper closed. And also, hold the purse close to your body.
If your phone is stolen, report it immediately to your carrier. They can put it on a blacklist to block phone calls and data plan usage. Activate any phone tracking features and phone management features, such as phone wiping. Also, report the theft to the police. They may not be able to recover your phone right away, but they can put together case if they find a thief with your phone and it has been reported stolen.

Prepare for the worst by taking advantage of the security features of your phone.

  1. Lock your phone. By doing this you set up a simple passcode that you use to access your phone. This way a stranger cannot get into your phone.
  2. Learn how to use the “find my phone” feature of your phone. This way, if you lose it or it is stolen, you can find it on a map.
The following article gives instructions for the security features of each of the major smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows phone):


No comments:

Post a Comment