Unfortunately, owners aren’t the only ones who love their smartphones. Criminals are equally fond of the devices because of what they can do with them.
The Federal Communications Commission reports that 40% of all thefts in major cities are targeted at smartphones. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely this number will fall, especially with ever-more advanced smartphones being released.
Beyond their monetary wealth, smartphones provide valuable opportunities for criminals on the lookout for an easy take. Unlike traditional cell phones, smartphones always give their owners a reason to be engaged. If you run out of people to text, you can always tweet, like, share, pin, etc. You can browse your music, surf the web, check your email and even watch videos.
While this is what we love about smartphones, it also means we aren’t paying attention to our surroundings. Keeping our eyes glued on our smartphone makes it extremely easy for a thief to tear it from our hands or, worse, draw a weapon and start making demands. At that point, a smartphone should be the least of your worries.
Of course, smartphones are financially valuable as well. Many smartphones can run between $300 and $400 these days. It’s not hard to imagine, then, why so many thieves would be on the lookout for them.
Although a thief may want their victim’s smartphone for themselves, it’s even more likely that they’ll be looking to resell it. There’s a thriving market out there for used smartphones. Dealers in these devices can have a trendy smartphone that a major retail chain would be selling for a few hundred dollars and it will only cost them $50 or so. They can then turn around and sell it for four or five times as much.
Fortunately, there are measures you can take to better protect yourself from thieves.
While many criminals may see your cell phone use as an invitation to take all your property, others will only go for your device. Their technique involves nothing more than snatching it out of your hands and running. As such, always be aware of your surroundings and wait until you’re in a secure place to use your phone.
You probably have more apps than you know what to do with, so why not make one of them useful in the event your phone is stolen? If you have an iPhone, for example, you can download the “Find My iPhone” app which will allow you to track your phone down via GPS should you ever lose it or if it’s stolen. Then, if the bad guys turn on your phone you’ll know where they are and can turn that information over to the police.
According to a survey by Confident Technologies, only 44% of smartphone owners utilize password protection their phone! Don’t be one of them.
Password protection makes your phone useless to a criminal as they can’t get into it which in turns means that most stores won’t buy it from them. While some criminals may be savvy enough to hack through your password protection, doing so should give you enough time to alert the police and use “Find My iPhone” in order to locate it and the perpetrator.
You can take steps, however, to guard against such an eventuality. Follow the above advice and you’ll be less likely to get victimized or, in the event that you are, more likely to retrieve your phone.
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