Mobile phones have been a soft target for thieves for decades. Modern users need to recognize the heightened threat that comes with handset theft, since a stolen phone is a gateway to a world of sensitive info that crooks can exploit for fraud, identity theft and worse.
With that in mind, here are some things to do to avoid putting your handset in the line of fire in the first place.
What if you suspect your phone has been hacked?Signs that your phone has been compromised include performance problems, unwarranted reductions in battery life, and suspicious levels of data usage.
The good news is that you can track down who hacked your phone using modern security apps, and remove threats before they are allowed to cause any more disruption.
You should also change your account passwords so that even if login details did fall into the wrong hands, it will be useless.
Locking the screenIf your phone is stolen, the last thing you want is for the thief to have an easy time accessing your info. That’s where a secure lock screen comes in handy, and all modern mobile operating systems give you a few ways to implement this.
Using a numeric pass code which only you know is essential. You can also make use of things like fingerprint scannersand even facial recognition, so long as they are supported by your device.
Keeping it out of sightPhone theft often occurs when a mobile is left exposed in public places, such as on the table of a coffee shop or even just being held in your hand while you stroll along the sidewalk.
Remove this temptation from the equation by keeping your portable device out of sight when it’s not in use. Ideally you’ll place it in a pocket or bag, but be aware that light-fingered criminals can still steal it from these places, so it pays to remain vigilant to your surroundings rather than letting your guard down.
Storing it safelyYour phone’s physical security is also at risk when it’s unattended in other contexts, such as in the office or at home.
Again, it’s better to take the extra precaution of storing it somewhere that doesn’t leave it in sight of would-be thieves, such as in a lockable desk drawer.
Using integrated tracking capabilitiesiPhone and Android handsets include a ‘find my phone’ feature which lets you pinpoint the precise whereabouts of your device at any point through location tracking.
This is ideal for if you’ve lost it or you believe that it has been stolen, since so long as it is powered on, it will ping you with its GPS coordinates until the battery runs out.
If you do fear that it’s in the hands of a thief, you can also use the same service to remotely delete personal information from the device, which means that even if you aren’t able to recover it, you will at least have peace of mind that the data it contains isn’t also compromised.
Embracing insuranceModern mobiles are expensive, and if you’ve got a high end model then it will cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to replace it if it is stolen.
Having a separate mobile phone insurance policy to protect against such an eventuality will soften the blow of this scenario.
It’s also worth checking to see if you aren’t already insured against phone theft as part of a home insurance policy, for example.
So with a bit of preparation and plenty of vigilance, as well as some good habits for mobile use, your phone’s physical security doesn’t need to be a constant worry.