Just by casually reading of the papers, you knew that smartphone theft was a problem. But who knew it was this bad?
In fact, according to the National Consumers League, which has been “representing consumers and workers on marketplace and workplace issues since 1899,” some 1.6 million American consumers had a hand-held device stolen last year.
Given the high price of cell phones, if you don’t get one as part of a service contract with your carrier, we shouldn’t be surprised by the number of thefts. A smartphone can fetch $200 on the U.S. streets and north of $2,000 in some Asian cities.
Law enforcement, smart phone manufacturers and wireless providers have joined together to fight what San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has called “a national epidemic.” They are making progress. Many wireless providers have established programs that refuse to allow the use of a reactivated, stolen phone on their networks. Also, a number of smart phone manufacturers have taken steps to beef up security.
For example, Apple’s iOS7 mobile operating system includes a “Find My iPhone” feature and requires the user to log in before they can do anything with a device that has been lost or stolen. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone customers can buy a LoJack system which is difficult for thieves to disconnect without causing damage to the phone.
That’s good. And anything we can do to protect our phones is even better. Here are six ideas:
Given the rising rates of smartphone theft, it is becoming increasing likely that you will become a victim. These steps will minimize your risk (and the damage, should it occur.)
First published on Forbes.com