Protecting Your Mobile Device from Theft

020414-mobiletheftMost of us aren’t joking when we say our cell phones are our lives. We store endless amounts of data on our mobile devices: Contacts; texts, emails, and other correspondence; appointments; website and app logins; maybe even bank and credit card data. Some of us have work-related information on our phones and tablets, and many use mobile devices to access social media.

Now, imagine that your mobile device has been stolen. What do the thieves have access to now?

Loss of your mobile device is more than an inconvenience. If you haven’t taken measures to protect your device and the information it contains, a thief suddenly has access to nearly every aspect of your life. Your friends and family. Your comings and goings as noted in your calendar. Social media and other accounts. An unprotected phone gives someone the blueprint to steal your identity and more.

While there’s no way to ensure that your phone or tablet won’t be stolen, taking preventative measures can decrease the usefulness of your phone to someone who’d like to steal it, whether they want to mine it for data or resell it.

Stay aware

No matter where you are, be aware of your surroundings and always know the location of your phone or tablet. Thieves are looking for easy opportunities to swipe your phone, and it’s up to you to deny them the opportunity. Some tips:

  • Keep your phone in your pocket, purse, or bag when you’re not using it. Don’t set it on a table in a public place, and don’t hold it in your hand while you’re walking.
  • Don’t use your phone while walking in a crowded place or while you’re on public transportation. You’ll be too distracted to pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Don’t call attention to your phone. Funny ringtones or those iconic white Apple headphones can tip thieves off to which type of phone you have.

Lock your device

Being unable to get into your phone or tablet can make it useless to thieves. Try these tips:

  • Set a passcode on your device that needs to be entered to unlock the device. Make the password difficult to figure out – don’t use your birthday or a set of numbers in sequence.
  • Set your phone or tablet to return to locked mode after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Some operating systems allow you to tell the device to erase itself after repeated failed login attempts. Use this setting if it’s available.

Back up your data

Losing your phone or tablet is bad enough, but it’s worse to lose all of the data and information you’ve saved on it as well. Back up the data on your device regularly using the software that came with your phone or tablet. This will make it easier to put the information on your new device.

Also, when you get a new device, note its security number and IMEI number and store that information in a safe place (not on your phone or tablet!). These numbers can help trace your device if it’s stolen. Find the IMEI number by entering *#06# into the dial screen of your device. You can usually find the serial number in the general settings area of your phone or underneath the battery.

Find an app for that

Most smartphone manufacturers offer an app that allows you to track your device’s location. Some apps even let you remotely lock or wipe the phone or sound an alarm when your device is stolen. Third-party app developers have also created apps for the various operating systems. Find one for your device here.

Consider insurance

If you’re really worried about theft, look into insuring your device, either through your mobile plan carrier or a third party. Most will cover usage and call charges since your phone was stolen and the cst of a replacement device. Alternatively, check to see whether your home owner’s insurance covers mobile phone theft.

My device has been stolen – now what?

The worst has happened: Someone has stolen your phone or tablet. What now?

  • If you can, remotely locate, lock, and wipe the phone clean. If your app has an alarm feature, sound the alarm.
  • Call your mobile carrier to report the theft. They can often disable and locate your device.
  • Report the theft to police.
  • Change any passwords for websites and apps that thieves will be able to access.
  • Call the phone. If you’ve misplaced it or left it behind, a Good Samaritan may have picked it up or turned it into authorities or management.

Worried about the security of your mobile devices? Contact PNSolutions today – we can take care of your business’ mobile device management needs!

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