Smartphones have become extremely desirable targets for thieves across the U.S. This is because of a thriving black market demand for these high ticket devices. You can lower the chances of becoming a target for smartphone theft by taking these five precautionary steps:
- Keep your smartphone secure and out of sight.
Smartphone thieves primarily use a “grab and run” technique. They target those who are using smartphones or have them prominently displayed on their person. Therefore, it is not a good idea to keep your smartphone in a pocket where the top can be seen sticking out or its shape is discernible through the fabric. These habits make you an easy target for thieves. Keep your smartphone secure and hidden at all times when you are not using it.
- Avoid using your smartphone while you walk.
When you walk as you talk on your smartphone, you are an easy mark for “grab and run” thieves. It takes seconds for a thief to come up behind you, grab your smartphone and flee. There is not enough time for you to react. Instead of walking while using your smartphone, stop and position yourself with your back to a wall, storefront or other secure location. That way, a smartphone thief can’t sneak up behind you.
- Avoid using your smartphone in high risk locations.
Thieves target locations where they know people have lots of cash or where there are lots of distractions. These locations include public transit hubs and vehicles, banks and ATM machines. They also include department and grocery store entrances and parking lots. You should not use your smartphone in any of these high risk locations. If you must listen to music on your smartphone in public transit locations, keep it out of sight and use black, generic ear buds or head phones. Thieves will think you have an older device that is not worth stealing. In addition, choose a secure location from which to listen. Your back should be against a wall or window so nobody can sneak up on you from behind.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
Treat your smartphone like the expensive, desirable commodity that it is. Just like a Rolex watch, your smartphone will be quickly noticed by would-be thieves. Therefore, always assess the safety of your surroundings before revealing it in public and using it. Don’t assume that a public space with a large crowd of people is secure. Such a distracting setting is an ideal hunting ground for smartphone thieves. Keep your smartphone hidden and only use it if you can find a secure location where nobody can come up behind you.
- Equip your smartphone with security apps.
Security apps like AirCover, Find My iPhone and Where’s My Droid can track your smartphone or remotely delete sensitive data if a thief does manage to grab it. In addition, personal security apps like OnWatch, Guardly and imSafe are available should you find yourself in personal danger. Many have a one button panic mode feature that immediately alerts police and family of your emergency situation.
You can take steps to make yourself a less likely target for smartphone theft. Keep your smartphone hidden in public. Don’t walk and use your smartphone at the same time. Don’t use your smartphone in high risk locations like banks, on public transit vehicles or in grocery store parking lots. Don’t use your smartphone in unfamiliar surroundings. Finally, install security apps to help protect yourself and your smartphone in dangerous situations.