The video below from the Los Angeles Police Department shows an 18-year old woman walking into the lobby of her apartment building. A man comes up from behind and tries to grab something from her hands. He proceeds to hit her repeatedly. He slams her to the ground and violently attacks her. What was he after? Her purse? No. He wanted her cell phone.
Last year there were about 27,000 cell phones stolen. In many of those cases the thieves resorted to violence.
The number of mobile phone thefts is rising.
Consider in Washington DC there was a 54% increase in mobile phone robberies between 2007 and 2011.
Police chiefs from several major cities have announced a new initiative to combat smartphone thefts.
In the future, if your phone is swiped you’ll be able to call your wireless carrier and add your phone to a nationwide list of stolen mobile devices. If someone should try to use your phone in the future it will be blocked.
But you don’t have to wait for the database. There are steps you can take now. The FCC recommends:
- Lock your smartphones with passwords
- Use available apps to lock/locate/wipe the data from your phone remotely. See Various tracking apps here
- Think of your smartphone as carrying $500 cash in your hand. You probably wouldn’t openly display and walk around with that kind of money out in the open or leave it sitting on the front seat of your car. Take the same precautions with your cell phone
- Be careful about what personal information is stored on your phone
- Write down your phone’s make, model, serial number and mobile equipment identifier number
- Have your lock screen on your phone contain an email address or phone number. But don’t put personal information like your home address
- Educate your teens and older kids about the dangers of cell phone thefts.