The whole planet is forever becoming more addicted to our smartphones. For example, in South Korea alone, almost 88% of the population own smartphones! In the USA, 72%. That is a huge number when only a few decades ago, mobile phones were non-existent.
Along with this explosion in mobile phones, ownership has come a massive increase in phone theft. In the UK alone, almost half a million Britons had their mobile phones stolen in 2016. Young people are most at risk of losing their phones in this way, with pickpocketing and snatch thefts being the most common ways to steal phones. Thieves target young people, particularly those in the 18-21 age group, who are perhaps more likely to have the newest models and more likely to use them in public places. Police figures suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, the HTC M8, and the newest iPhone models are beautiful to light-fingered individuals.
Aside from the risk of theft, plenty of people also lose their phones each year. Losses on the London Underground alone reach five figures annually.
How, then, can you guard against your phone joining the lost and stolen statistics? The government takes the issue seriously and has published guidance aimed at helping individuals reduce the risk. Here are some ideas to try.
Never Leave Your Phone Unattended In Public
It is sensible and, indeed, perhaps obvious advice to ensure you do not leave your phone somewhere anyone can pick it up. This includes tables in cafes, bars, and restaurants. Instead, your phone should be securely kept in a closed bag on your person. Phones in pockets, particularly back pockets, are especially susceptible to pickpockets. If you keep your phone in a pocket, choose an internal one, preferably with a zip. Take particular care in busy places, where pickpockets can melt away into the crowd before you even know your phone has gone.
Take Out Insurance
Taking out mobile phone insurance is increasing in frequency as phones become more valuable.
Enable A “Find My Phone” App
If the worst does happen and your phone is stolen or lost, you may be able to track it down if you have enabled the “Find My Phone” or equivalent android facility. For this to be effective, your phone will need to be switched on and have a WIFI connection or access to a cellular network, such as 4G.
Lock Your Phone Using A PIN Code, Password, Or Biometric Data
This is the most popular security precaution and, in many ways, the simplest. It also has the advantage of preventing those, such as children, who might want to tamper with your phone from doing so.
Mark Your Phone
A physical mark, perhaps giving your postcode or home telephone number, can help an honest finder return a lost phone.
Many of the photos and other data stored on phones are irreplaceable. Regular backing up of data, perhaps using a cloud-based service, can ensure that the data is retrievable even if the physical phone is lost or stolen.
Despite this advice and the growing market in insurance for mobile phones, an estimated 34% of female users and 31% of male users currently take no precautions against losing their phone. It remains to be seen whether this will change if mobile phone theft continues to increase.