10 Important Things to Know About Smartphone Thefts

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2014-05-13 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It could happen to you. You get up from your cafe table to request the bill, leave your car unlocked while you run to the pharmacy, or dump your backpack on the subway seat next to you and burrow into a magazine. Next thing you know, your brand-new iPhone is gone. It happens all the time. In 2013, 3.1 million American consumers were victims of smartphone theft, according to Consumer Reports—nearly double the number reported in 2012. Mobile security specialist Lookout's Phone Theft in America report, a survey of smartphone theft victims conducted by IDG Research, takes a close look at the smartphone theft epidemic in the United States. The report found that one in 10 U.S. smartphone owners is a victim of phone theft and 68 percent of victims were unable to recover their devices after the theft occurred. The reality is that, whether your smartphone is white, black or gold, it is now almost 30 times more valuable per ounce than a block of solid silver—and almost as easy to convert discreetly into cash. According to the survey, the most severe consequences of phone theft included fraudulent charges and even identity theft. eWEEK examines key takeaways from the Lookout study.

 
 
 
  • 10 Important Things to Know About Smartphone Thefts

    by Nathan Eddy
    1 - 10 Important Things to Know About Smartphone Thefts
  • How Do They Get Stolen?

    Forty-four percent of smartphones were stolen because the owner left the phone behind in a public setting, 14 percent were stolen from a car or house that was burglarized, and 11 percent were stolen off the victim's person—out of their hands, pockets, purses or bags.
    2 - How Do They Get Stolen?
  • When Are They Stolen?

    A significant number of smartphone theft victims said their devices disappeared in the middle of the day, not late at night. For example, 40 percent of victims said their smartphones were stolen between lunch time and the end of the work day (between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.), compared with 18 percent of victims whose phones were stolen between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
    3 - When Are They Stolen?
  • It's Not Just the Cities Where Smartphones Are Stolen

    While 55 percent of thefts happen in urban environments, one-third of phone thefts occurred in suburbia. Still, it's worth noting that the survey revealed 15 percent of urbanites reported that they had two smartphones stolen.
    4 - It's Not Just the Cities Where Smartphones Are Stolen
  • The Consequences of Phone Theft Are High

    Close to half of those who had their phones stolen (47 percent) reported a time/productivity loss, while 10 percent reported loss of confidential company data. Nine percent had their identities stolen, and 12 percent said they experienced fraudulent charges on their accounts.
    5 - The Consequences of Phone Theft Are High
  • Places and Situations to Watch For

    According to the survey, 16 percent of smartphones were stolen in a restaurant, 11 percent at a bar/nightclub (so watch your drink count), a disconcertingly high 11 percent of smartphones are nabbed at work, 6 percent while on public transportation and 5 percent were stolen right on the street.
    6 - Places and Situations to Watch For
  • Going to Great Lengths to Get Your Life Back

    Fifty percent of phone theft victims would be somewhat likely to extremely likely to pay $500 to retrieve their stolen phone's data, including all photos, videos, music, apps and private information, while one-third of victims would be somewhat likely to extremely likely to pay $1,000.
    7 - Going to Great Lengths to Get Your Life Back
  • Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way

    In a further signal of the decline of rational thought in a supposedly advanced society, 68 percent of phone theft victims said they would be willing to put themselves in some amount of danger to retrieve a stolen device and the precious information on it. Presumably suggestive selfies play some sort of role.
    8 - Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way
  • Keep Your Smartphone in Your Pocket

    The majority of phone theft victims, approximately 44 percent, experienced a theft because they accidentally left their phone behind in a public setting where it was later snatched by a thief. So the next time you are at lunch, keep your phone in your pocket, and have a conversation or read a book instead, maybe.
    9 - Keep Your Smartphone in Your Pocket
  • Act Quickly to Recover a Phone

    Regardless of when your phone was stolen, the study strongly indicated time is of the essence to recover it. Only 25 percent of phone theft victims noticed their phone was stolen immediately, and roughly one in two victims noticed in the first hour.
    10 - Act Quickly to Recover a Phone
  • Protect Your Phone When You Travel

    Fancy a trip to Europe? According to survey results, your inklings to keep your phone tucked away are warranted. Europeans are more likely to be victims of pickpocketing than Americans (roughly 28 percent in Europe, versus 11 percent in the United States).
    11 - Protect Your Phone When You Travel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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