Every year, an obscene number of phones are stolen and lost; however, the exact number of phones suffering from these fates is up for debate.
In 2014, Consumer Reports stated 3 million phones were stolen the previous year, while the FCC stated only 1 million were stolen – a pretty significant difference. Whichever way the cookie crumbles on that one – 3 million or 1 million – we, as smartphone consumers, know what the reality is…
We casually leave our phones in shopping carts, public restrooms, and on top of restaurant tables, and they somehow have the tendency to magically vanish from our handbags, pockets, and purses – whether it’s the result of theft or carelessness. Either way, the disappearance of our mobile devices poses a huge concern.
Not only is it becoming more and more expensive to replace a smartphone, but there’s also the chance of identity theft if a phone ends up in the wrong hands. So, to avoid these rather unpleasant circumstances, here are a few ideas that can definitely help you keep your connected devices more secure.
LOCK YOUR PHONE AND APPS
You don’t want to ever give anyone the opportunity to look inside your phone and inside your apps without your permission. The only way to enforce this is by using passwords, pin numbers, and/or biometrics to lock your phone and all those apps with access to your email, documents, or financial information.
Too many people simply refuse to do this because it takes more time to access their device and its contents. But really, what’s more valuable to you? A few seconds or your financial information? The harder it is for a thief to access your phone, the less likely you are to fall victim to identity theft. Besides having your information secured, you should work on situational awareness and gain a firm grip on your phone. For example, you can use an iPhone strap in crowded commutes to loop the phone around your wrist or fingers. That way, you can rest assured your phone is safe from theft.
USE A PHONE-FINDING APP
There’s plenty of applications out there that will help you find your phone if it’s lost or stolen. There’s even an app called Lookout that gives you the ability to turn on your phone’s features remotely – like your camera so you can actually see who it is that’s trying to break into your phone. An app like Lookout will track your device and lead you to where it is, whether it’s lost in your home or hanging out in that grocery store you just left. Other options include: Find my iPhone, Google Find My Device, and Avast Mobile Security.
LOG OUT OF ACCOUNTS
Falling in line with locking your phone and apps, it’s important to fully log out of your online accounts. If someone does manage to break through your code into your phone, or if you decide not to protect your phone with a passcode at all, then you better make sure they don’t have easy access to the rest of your life.
This also means you shouldn’t allow a website to remember your login credentials on your phone. Sure, you might be making your life a little easier, but you’re also making it a lot easier for someone to access your private information. Again, which one is more valuable to you?