Cellphone thefts are on the rise. According to stats from the Federal Communications Commission, nearly one in three robberies nationwide involves a mobile phone. And in New York City thieves love iPhones. According to the New York Police Department, nearly a fifth of all thefts in New York City in 2013 involved Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads and other Apple items. More than 8,000 Apple devices were stolen in the Big Apple last year, 13 percent more than in 2012.
Here are a few tips to protect your mobile devices from theft:
Treat your phone like your wallet: Handle it like you would other valuables. “When not in use, always keep your phone out of sight someplace where it can’t easily be picked, and if in an area with uncertain security, treat it like you would a wad of cash–don’t flash it around,” advises NQ Mobile Chief Product Officer Gavin Kim (former GM of Windows Phone marketing).
Be prepared if you lose your phone: Imagine, all your contacts and info swiped. According to a survey from NQ Mobile, 48 percent admitted they’d be in big trouble if they lost their smartphone. Back everything up.
Lock it down: It’s incredible that 44 percent of people surveyed by NQ Mobile don’t take this step. “The single most important thing you can do to protect your mobile security and privacy is to set a passcode lock to protect your device from unauthorized access…Whether snagged by a thief or picked up by a stranger after you’ve left it behind, your unlocked phone is an open invitation into the intimate details of your life,” says Kim. “Every device will have an option in its security settings for some sort of passcode, pattern or even facial recognition to access the device’s functions. If you don’t have that option enabled, you’re inviting a world of problems.”
GPS it: Most smartphones these days, especially iPhones (Find My iPhone), have built-in locators. You just have to activate the option. There is also an option to wipe out everything and disable the phone if stolen, leaving the thief unable to use the device.