Dangerous flash mobs
Do you remember in 2010 when flash mobs were entertaining the masses, breaking out in spontaneous dance or song? Flash mobs are still around, but they’re less fun and more malicious, as they’re in the form of smaller groups organizing themselves through social media to commit crimes, typically theft against gas stations or tourists.
Anyone can be targeted by these flash mobs who are often after more than money – they want your devices. Stephen Ebbett, President of Protect Your Bubble, simplified device insurance cites legislation signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s which will lengthen prison terms for individuals convicted of using social media tools to organize flash mob crimes. It’s serious business.
Ebbett notes that electronic device theft – in the context of flash mobs or traditional robberies – is growing problem, with the FCC reporting that up to 40 percent of robberies in several major U.S. cities involve the theft of mobile phones.
Three ways to protect your valuables
In his own words, Ebbett shares with AGBeat the following three tips for protecting your valuables:
1. Avoid displaying your mobile device in public: Most of us wouldn’t take out a wallet containing $700 and count the money in public. A top-of-the-line smartphone or tablet device can cost $700 or more, and yet people think nothing of displaying their electronics in public. Keeping smartphones and tablets out of sight is a good idea that may help deter theft.
2. Make sure you install a tracking app: Virtually all smartphones, including iPhones and Androids, offer free tracking apps that can be installed to track the device’s whereabouts if it goes missing. This can be a vital tool in the aftermath of a robbery, allowing the police to locate the device in real time and increasing your chances of recovering it – and nabbing the thieves.
3. Create a strong password: These days, many people use smartphones and tablets for banking, online shopping and other activities that involve sensitive account and personal information. If the device is stolen in a flash mob attack, traditional robbery – or simply misplaced – that confidential information can fall into the wrong hands. A strong password can help protect vital data.
Stay safe out there
“Robbery via a violent flash mob – or any other type of robbery – is a frightening, traumatic experience, and physical safety must always be the first priority,” Ebbett notes. “But taking a few simple precautions can help you reduce the chance that your device will targeted by thieves, improve your odds of recovering it if it is stolen and protect sensitive information the device may contain.”