Device theft on the rise, how to protect yourself


Device theft is increasingly common, and may lead to out of pocket replacement costs, but following these tips can fight thieves at their own game.


Device theft rising, no one is immune

Have you ever had a small panic attack when you rummage through your bag and can’t find your smartphone or tablet? Have you set your device down in a bathroom to wash your hands and accidentally left it there and had to run back for it, worrying the whole time that someone is emailing your client’s dirty jokes?

Stephen Ebbett, President of Protect Your Bubble, simplified device insurance tells AGBeat that anyone can be targeted by electronic device thieves, and notes that the FCC reports that 30 to 40 percent of robberies in several major U.S. cities now involve mobile phones, and the spike in thefts of Apple products like the iPhone and iPad has inspired a new nickname for the crime: “Apple picking.”

5 ways to fight device theft

“There’s a growing black market for stolen mobile devices,” Ebbett said, “with crooks following supply and demand trends just as legitimate merchants do. But there are ways to safeguard your investment in mobile devices like the iPhone 5 – and protect the vital personal data stored on your smartphone.”

Ebbett offers the following five tips to help you prevent thefts and beat mobile device thieves at their own game:

  1. Don’t leave your smartphone unattended: No one would leave $700 on the table while going to the coffee shop counter to pick up an order, but people leave their shiny new mobile devices unattended all the time, providing a golden opportunity for thieves. Don’t make that mistake.
  2. Install a tracking app: Both Android and Apple smartphones offer free tracking apps you can install to help you recover your device if someone steals it. The apps allow you to log onto another device like a laptop or tablet and track your missing device’s current location.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings: Treat your iPhone 5 or other smartphone like you would a wallet – chances are it is more valuable than the contents of your billfold! Avoid handling it in unsafe areas, and keep both hands on the device to thwart thieves when you do have to display it in public.
  4. Make sure you set a passcode: You probably have a lot of personal data on your smartphone – including private messages, contact information and even mobile banking data. This can be a bonanza for thieves, but you can stop them in their tracks with a simple passcode.
  5. Ask your carrier for help: If your smartphone goes missing and you are unable to track it through a GPS app, your wireless carrier may be able to help. Contact customer service immediately and ask them to help you recover your phone and protect your personal data.

While most devices are protected by a warranty, theft is not typically covered, Ebbett notes, so a stolen device may mean paying out of pocket for a replacement, so following these quick tips can help beat device theft.


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