Cellphone Thieves and Data Protection Tips

Cellphone theft is very rampant worldwide. In the U.S. alone, there were 3.1 million cases of reported incidents of cellphone theft. Statistics also reveal that 44% of phone theft victims unintentionally left their phone in a public place and then, later on, snatched it by a thief. In a recent study conducted at Boston University, it was further stated that 113 smartphone units are stolen or lost every minute.

There are various reasons why cellphone theft remains to be an epidemic. One factor could be because they are an “in” thing. A lot of people are carrying and using them in public places making them popular targets among thieves. Another factor is its size and weight.

Smartphones are generally sleek and lightweight making them easier to grab and stash inside the pocket or small bag. Basically, smartphones are easier to steal in public because they are everywhere.

One can simply generate or stage a slight commotion to momentarily distract the target and then take that opportunity to steal his/her cellphone.

One of the main reasons why cellphones are so hot is because of their significant resale value. For instance, iPhones can be sold at $200. per unit in the black market. The price can go even higher depending on the model.

Premium items always command a higher price even if they were stolen goods. Aside from their value, cellphones are stolen in order to steal personal data and financial information from their owner.

A lot of cellphone users tend to store a lot of important matters in their cellphone including passwords, email, social media accounts, photos, videos, accounts to phone sex sites, and even various documents; not to mention, almost all their contacts. All these make cell phones highly desirable among thieves.

What you should do if your cellphone has been stolen?

1. Report the incident to your cellphone carrier right away.

Your carrier has the means to disconnect and disable service to your stolen cellphone immediately. Reporting the loss can also prevent unauthorized use of your number. You may also do this online if you don’t have an access to a telephone.

2. Remotely deactivate your phone.

Most advanced smart cellular phones have a feature called “kill switch” which will enable you to lock it remotely and prevent the thief from using it. This feature can also prevent anyone from resetting your lost cellphone. However, you need to install or set up these services for them to work. Here are some of these features and web portals;

  • Find My iPhone Activation Lock (Apple)
  • Remotely Lock My Device (Android)
  • Lookout Mobile Security A (T-Mobile)
  • Find My Mobile (Samsung)
  • Find and Lock a Lost Windows Device (Windows 10)

3. Change all your account passwords.

Changing all your passwords is crucial especially for all accounts accessible on your lost cellphone such as a bank, email, and social media. Moreover, smartphone companies and telecom providers usually offer cloud services that make all your relevant data accessible in the cloud.

You have to prevent thieves from gaining access to all this information. Thus it is important to change your cloud password right away.

To avoid having problems, it is important to be mindful of where you put your cellphone at all times whenever you’re in a public place. If you’re keeping your phone inside your bag, pay close attention to how you’re holding your bag to prevent thieves from gaining access without your knowledge. It helps to be conscious at all times.

Furthermore, use passcode and auto-lock for your phone to avoid leaving it open to anyone who gets hold of it. Remember that your cellphone holds a lot of information about you. Therefore, you should guard it at all times to avoid compromising your identity and having to face a lot of inconveniences.

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Controlling Smart Phone Usage in Public

Smartphones have become highly essential devices for a lot of people worldwide. Statistics show that nearly 36% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. In the U.S. alone, 9 out of 10 Americans aged 34 years old and below are projected to have a smartphone in the coming year.

For the age group, 50 and above, the smartphone ownership rate has increased as well from 53% to 67% in the past years. This data has proven the major influence of technology across all generations.

With all the advantages and benefits of smartphones to people’s daily lives, proper use and manners are oftentimes being neglected or ignored. Here are some basic guidelines on how to properly control your smartphone usage when in public. We hope that these helpful tips will likewise shed light on acceptable and reasonable smartphone use.

1. While waiting in line.

Be aware of using your smartphone while waiting in line in fast food, coffee shop, or grocery store to avoid causing inconveniences to others. Keep in mind that these lines move pretty fast and it is important that you pay attention when it’s already your turn.

You should be mindful enough to take your cue right away. As a courtesy to the people in line as well as to the person attending to you, keep your smartphone away in the meantime to avoid being the cause of delay.

2. In public restrooms.

There are reports which reveal that as much as 87% of people make or takes phone calls while doing their business in the restroom. It is perfectly fine to do this in your own home or within your personal space. However, doing this in a public toilet or restroom can be quite rude and bothersome for a lot of people who are also there doing their own business.

Moreover, talking on the phone in confined spaces like the restroom can be very unethical. Aside from causing a distraction to others, it can also be scandalous because a lot of people can hear what you’re blabbing about. If you need to keep yourself busy while sitting on a public toilet, consider texting, chatting, or reading.

3. During social gatherings.

Have you ever held a conversation with someone who cannot even focus on your topic because of his/her smartphone? Does having a smartphone on hand get in the way of having some quality time to catch up with friends? Using your smartphone in the middle of a social gathering is not just ethical.

It is also downright rude, disrespectful, and ungracious. Using your smartphone while somebody is talking to you during a social event is much like drawing that person away – an indirect manner of saying that you’re uninterested.

Therefore, it is best to keep your cell phone away when holding a conversation with somebody, especially in social gatherings. Focus your attention on that person as a form of courtesy and try to socialize with other people to express your interest and respect for the occasion.

4. During meetings and conferences.

Nothing is more annoying than the sound of your smartphone notifications right in the middle of a meeting or conference. This is something that you must keep in mind. While it may seem natural for you to hear the sound of your smartphone, this can cause a major distraction to important matters.

In fact, other people will find this offensive and highly unprofessional. During meetings and conferences, it would be best to put your smartphone on silent mode to avoid causing a scene right in the middle of something important.

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Chat Lines’ Minors Ban

Dating Lines or Chat Lines offer the fastest route in order to meet new people, socialize, and instantly score a date. Using these call-in services is also fast and easy. This is why a lot of people are drawn to using them; including minors who are not part of the target market. 

Companies that are operating these chat lines honor the law and abide by the regulations. They implement specific guidelines to ensure that only singles of legal age will take part in the chat line community. There are moderators who constantly check the system and a recorded voice prompt reminds every single caller about this regulation. Still, minors who are overly curious about what is going on within the chat lines tend to violate this law.

Dating Lines such as chatlinedating.com connect a caller to other singles that are also using the chat lines within a specific area. Callers can maintain their anonymity and are never required to provide any personal information.

According to the founder of chatlinedating.com, Joe Blankenship reported to freedetainees.org that all minors trying to use any chat line service are flagged and blocked from any dating phone system listed.

This makes dating lines or chat lines accessible to minors. By law, it is a crime to date and has sex with a minor. Severe charges with harsh penalties await adults who are dating minors. The severity of the charges advances when a greater age gap exists between the minor and the offender. 

The existence of such laws strictly prohibits minors from calling the chat lines which are mainly designed for adults within the legal age of 18 years and above. Such law is implemented not only to preserve the innocence of the minors but also to protect them from potential danger.

Chat lines can actually create avenues for two chat partners to meet up conveniently since they are from within the same area. There is a huge risk involved if one of them is an adult and the other is actually a minor. Thus, chat lines strictly prohibit and discourage minors from calling and faking their age in order to gain access.

Furthermore, in the instance that sexual intercourse happens during the meet-up, the adult may be charged by the state laws with statutory rape even if it is consensual. A person who is found guilty of engaging in sexual activities with a minor may be incarcerated especially with a larger age gap. This refers to some jail time depending on the severity of charges.

Most laws that govern statutory rape are implemented to punish adults who take advantage of minors. Thus, harsher penalties apply with a larger age gap as compared to statutory rape cases wherein there is a minimal age gap of only, for instance, two years.

This is referred to as close-in-age exemption or Romeo and Juliet law.  For lesser age gaps involved, the severity of offense may be reduced from felony to misconduct. Punishment for such an offense usually includes a fine or penalty, and/or community service. 

For all these reasons, minors are strictly prohibited from using chat lines. Minors are considered more vulnerable, and they lack the level of maturity that is required to fully understand the concept of chat lines. 

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Phone Regulations in North America

Based on a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, approximately two-thirds of the people within the United States own a smart cellular phone. In fact, cellular phones have become a necessity for many people which accounts for its significance and influence in modern day living. However, there are certain laws and regulations within the U.S. and Canada which govern the use of mobile phones. You have to be aware of these in order to avoid inconveniences at any point and to spare yourself from having to pay fines for unintentionally breaking the law. 

Here is a rundown of the laws and regulations that govern the use of mobile phones within the U.S. and Canada;

Ant-Distraction Law when driving

The use of cellular phones is strictly prohibited when driving. Texting and making calls while driving are considered as major distractions. Moreover, using the cellphone is also the main culprit behind the 4 million road accidents that happen every year within North America. So if you’re thinking about texting your girlfriend/boyfriend while on the road, or calling the chat lines to entertain yourself while stuck in traffic, think again to avoid getting into trouble. 

And lastly, try to minimize using the hands-free mode when taking calls because hands-free doesn’t necessary mean risk-free. Unless it’s important, your calls would have to wait until you’re no longer behind the wheel.

The use of Selfie Sticks

Selfie sticks probably offer the best and most convenient solution to take a shot at a perfect angle and background. However, there are some theme parks and tourist destinations that ban or prohibit the use of these retractable devices. Some of these top and famous attractions are;

  • All Disneyland theme parks
  • Modern Museum of Art in New York
  • Museum of Fine Arts in Boston 
  • Coachella Music Festival in California
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
  • Getty Center in Los Angeles
  • Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio
  • Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago

Selfie sticks are also banned in some tourist destinations and museums within Canada. If you’re planning to go on a trip where you intend to take lots of pictures using a selfie stick, check for the regulations first to avoid getting fined and reprimanded. 

Law that prohibit texting while walking

Do you have plans of traveling to Fort Lee, New Jersey? Do you leave anywhere near this area? If you’re in any of these situations, you should be aware that texting while walking is strictly prohibited in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Being aware of this law can save you $85 worth of jaywalking fine. You are also expected to follow this law at all costs and regardless of where you are in order to save yourself from accidents. 

Places where the use of cellphones are prohibited

The use of cellphones is prohibited in courthouses, hospital intensive care units, some banks and churches. They are also not allowed in areas where radio transmissions are strictly restricted to avoid interference with military intelligence operations and other researches. Usually, there are no cellular towers available in such areas and cellular service is unavailable or highly limited.

Other circumstances that may impose laws regarding the use of cellular devices are; during national and presidential elections in the U.S., while in line at the customs department and airport immigration; and some other restricted areas all across airports within the U.S. and Canada. 

As citizens or visitors of these countries, you must be fully aware of the laws and regulations concerning the use of cellphones. It is only by being aware that you can save yourself from inconveniences, fines and various compromising situations.

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