by Kimberly Deas
Consumer Reports estimates that 1.6 million Americans were victimized by smartphone thieves in 2012. Lost and stolen mobile devices—mostly smartphones—cost consumers more than $30 billion last year, according to one study.
So what's being done to reduce the allure of stealing smartphones?
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon launched The Stolen Phone Database in 2012 that integrates with carriers from outside North America. This collaboration with international carriers would allow foreign operators to block stolen U.S. device activations.
Apple devices have a feature, “activation lock,’’ as part of the iOS 7 software that prevents thieves from turning off the Find My iPhone application, which allows owners to track their phone on a map, remotely lock the device and delete its data.
The Apple activation lock requires someone to know a user’s Apple ID and password to reactivate a phone, even after someone erases all the data on the device.
Here are a few apps that also can help you protect your smartphone.
- LoJack (Android)/Find My iPhone (Apple) lets you lock the phone, locate the device, delete data and recover the device. LoJack even provides a recovery guarantee.
- Lock cam works with a front-facing camera to take a picture of someone who wrongly enters the password three times on your mobile device and emails the picture to the user along with the exact location of your phone when the photo was snapped.
Kimberly Deas combines her 10+ years’ experience in telecommunications with a background in personal coaching and results-oriented training.