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How to keep your mobile device away from criminals

by Rod Spurgeon

It’s a beautiful morning and you decide to visit your favorite beverage shop to enjoy a tasty treat. With your go-juice in hand, you move to an empty table and sit down. You pull out your mobile phone to catch up on emails and read the latest news when you realize you forgot to get napkins. Leaving your coffee and phone on the table, you walk to the nearby counter, pluck two napkins from a holder, and return to your seat. As you approach your table, you move to set the napkins next to your coffee when you realize something has changed.

Your phone is missing.

You search the floor, your belongings, and your pockets, but without success. You ask the barista if she accidentally moved your phone from the table, but she hasn’t. You ask other patrons of the shop if they’ve seen your phone, but nobody saw a thing. It’s just gone. A sinking feeling forms in the pit of your stomach as you realize your phone has just been stolen.

This scenario happens more often every day. Don’t let it happen to you.

Whether you’re only stepping away from a table to grab another napkin, fork, or ketchup packet, someone might be watching, waiting for the opportunity to take what you have.

Avoid leaving your devices laying around on a table in a coffee shop, restaurant, library, or other public location. Never leave a mobile device where strangers can gain access to it and always maintain physical control of your device. When you leave a device where anyone else can access it, you risk losing the device to a criminal. Always keep your device under your control.

Even if you take every precaution to avoid leaving your mobile device in a vulnerable location, a thief might steal it from your pocket, purse, or satchel. To avoid losing the device forever, download a find my phone application from a primary vendor and use it. That way, if your mobile device is ever lost or stolen, you’ll have a much easier time locating it. Once you identify the location of your stolen device, give the information to law enforcement. Never confront a thief. A thief is likely to panic if caught, and like a cornered animal, that thief might hurt you to get away. Your mobile device isn’t worth your life.

Form the habit of locking your device when not in use, if you haven’t already. Set a passcode and use it. If someone steals your device, a passcode will reduce the chances of that person accessing your personal information.

When downloading a find my phone app, only download it and other apps from approved primary sources such as Apple iTunes or Google Play. Third party vendors may not screen apps located in their store as well as primary vendors, and it’s better to avoid them than take the risk of downloading an infected app.

Primary vendors do their best to weed out bad apps from their stable, but a few malicious apps might still find their way to the stores. Be sure to read reviews and see how many times others have downloaded an app before you consider downloading it. If the app’s reviews indicate the software might be compromised or the app has only been downloaded a few hundred times, avoid downloading it. Always use caution when downloading apps to avoid giving control of your personal information to a data thief.

Your phone is a treasure trove of your personal information to a criminal. Even if a thief doesn’t know how to access that trove because you have a strong passcode, the cost of a new device can be more than your budget can afford. Keep your device safe to avoid an unnecessary replacement cost.




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