This is a guest post by Jane Smith. If you are interested to guest post in this blog, just head over to the Guest Post Guidelines.
Twenty years ago mobile phones were a rarity, something only the rich cared to own. The phones were giant, clunky, and — by any modern definition — not even mobile. Today, however, mobile phone are not only common, they are sophisticated, useful, and sleek, the tool of choice for productivity and entertainment on the go.
As the phones get more and more hi-tech, though, their street value goes up, making them a coveted and frequently targeted item for thieves and muggers, and making the streets an unsafe place to be distracted.
In San Francisco, for example, there were more than 40 cell phone robberies in November of last year alone. Muggers will violently attack victims, who are most of the time using their phones at the time of the attack, steal the phone, and then turn a profit selling it to illegal buyers.
Mark Obrochta, the head of the San Francisco Police Tenderloin Station undercover division, warns that cell phones are replacing purses as the likeliest item to be stolen, and, worse, that muggers have “better odds” stealing phones because “with a purse, you never knew what you were going to get.” Smart phones, on the other hand, will regularly fetch up to $400.
Given this unsettling trend, there are a few mobile security measures that everyone should start taking to reduce the chances that they will be targeted by muggers for their phones.
- Install a mobile security app. Most muggers are just looking to wipe your phone, get rid of the SIM card, and sell it jailbroken to anyone who will buy. Make sure to have a security app that is stored on the device itself instead of the SIM card, to increase the security on your phone. Security apps, such as Lookout Mobile Security, also come with online services that will show you where your phone is on a map. Services like these, while not an ultimate defense, will help you if your phone is stolen, and will slow your attacker down in selling it.
- Use passcodes. They may seem like a hindrance, but if your phone is stolen, it could be the thing that gets you your phone back. Most robbers don’t want to go through the trouble of hacking your phone; all they want to do is wipe it. If you can stop them from doing that, you can find your phone faster.
- Develop situation awareness. This is the most important and most effective way to defend yourself. Because attacking you and stealing your phone is a physical assault, you need a physical defense to stop it. Instead of holding your phone out while walking to text or look for directions, stop in a well-lit, heavily trafficked area. The biggest mistake you can make is to be completely absorbed in your phone — as CNET editor Brian Cooley said, it first displays to any mugger that you have a phone worth stealing, and second tells them that you have no “situational awareness.”
Keep your phone in your pocket unless absolutely necessary, and keep an eye on your environment at all times. The last thing you want is to be beat up and without a phone to call for help.
About the Author: Jane Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes about free background checks for Backgroundcheck.org. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161[at]gmail[dot]com