Yesterday GigaOM reported that thieves steal over one million cell phones in the US annually. As the article notes, that means one tenth of all robberies involve a cell phone.
We previously wrote an extensive post on why it’s not a good idea to keep sensitive photos, such as naked selfies, on your phone for this reason among others.
The fact that added protections such as kill switches are becoming increasingly common, doesn’t invalidate the need to be careful with what you store on your phone. It may be many hours until you realize your phone is gone and by then any curious thief could have uploaded the contents of your phone to the cloud.
With cell phone theft so prevalent, it’s a good idea to review some basic steps to help avoid becoming the next victim and minimize the damage if a theft does occur:
Put a complex passcode on your phone—now.
All smartphones have the ability to put a screen lock code on to prevent intruders snooping. What many people don’t realize is that most phone makers offer more complex password options in the settings. The iPhone, for example, offers eight digit passcodes instead of the standard four.
Activate anti-theft measures
Likewise, many providers including Apple and Google now offer added anti-theft measures such as kill switches to lock the phone once you realize it’s missing or stolen, which will make it useless to the thief. Investigate the options your provider offers and ensure you are enrolled now. Insurance is only useful before you need it.
Don’t leave your phone out in public
It’s no coincidence that cell phone theft makes up the majority of all robberies in cities like San Francisco and New York, which feature active nightlife scenes. Avoid leaving your phone out on tables or on the bar. This makes it easy for the observant thief.
Don’t forget about your apps
If you have premium apps on your phone it’s a good idea to immediately reset your password and work with customer service to make sure none of your data has been compromised. In the case of BeenVerified, you can contact our highly rated customer service team to help you with any concerns.
Do notify the police and also all of your key contacts. As this article notes, the thief may try to use your identity to trick your contacts into sending money or some other nefarious purpose.
Have we forgotten any precautionary steps? Have you used a “kill switch” after your phone went missing? Let us know in the comments.