There is no piece of electronics stolen more often in America today than Apple’s iPhone products. There is such a demand for these products that stealing them for cheap resale has become a growth industry in and of itself, including mass sales of stolen phones to call centers that have only one purpose… to call the phone company that carries the device and get it unlocked.
Exact statistics on cell phone thefts are difficult to pin down because of the number of people who report a phone stolen that is actually lost, especially from teenagers who fear reporting a lost phone to their parents, but there are millions of thefts reported annually. So how do you protect against this?
First, and most importantly, KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR DEVICE. Up until now, people have been somewhat lax about cell phone security because cell phone providers were selling phones for less than a hundred dollars, or even giving them away for free. This gave people the idea that these devices are not inherently valuable. This is changing across the industry as devices grow more and more expensive. More providers are switching to a plan where you pay full price for your device over time, and will eventually become the only way to get a new phone.
Second, enable whatever security features are available for your device. I have been an Android user as long as I’ve used smart phones, but one thing that I’ve always been jealous of iPhone users of is Find My iPhone. This is a feature that allows you, through iCloud, to find, erase or even “kill” a lost or stolen device. A feature introduced in IOS7 is the iPhone “Activation Lock”. Once the device has been reported lost or stolen through Find My iPhone, it locks the device and requires your Apple ID and password to unlock. If you choose to wipe the device, the activation lock will continue to work. There are apps that you can download for your Android device, including the Android Device Manager, but none of these are as intuitive, comprehensive or easy to use as Find My iPhone.
Finally, insure your device. Cell phone insurance is inexpensive on a monthly basis, but is very handy if your device is stolen, lost or damaged. One gripe that people have had about cell phone insurance connects back to my first point. The deductible on a newer Apple device ranges from $100 to $200 per device, and people have an issue with paying that to replace a device that they got for free.
I hope that this helps!
~ Randal Schaffer