Cellphone Theft: Prevalence, Potential Risks & Why It Remains to be an Issue

Cellphone theft is very rampant worldwide. In the U.S. alone, there were 3.1 million cases of reported incidents for cellphone theft. Statistics also reveal that 44% of phone theft victims unintentionally left their phone in a public place and then later on snatched by a thief. In a recent study conducted in 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 because of 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 for 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 its 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 cellphones 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. 

  1. 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)
  1. Change all your account passwords

Changing all your passwords is crucial especially for all accounts accessible on your lost cellphone such as bank, email and social media. Moreover, smart phone companies and telecom providers usually offer cloud services which makes all your relevant data accessible in the cloud. You have to prevent thieves from gaining access to all these 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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