Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5 tips to outsmart phone thieves

Phone theft, especially of highend ones, has increased sharply in recent years. Here a few ways to dodge the robbers.

Be like a dolphin
Dolphins sleep with one eye open, to stay semi-alert to lurking predators and unexpected danger. If you need to use your phone in the wilds of the subway or sidewalk , do so discreetly, reserving at least a portion of your cognitive capacity for minding what is happening around you. Avoid leaving your phone on the table at restaurants, bars and coffee shops where it can easily be snatched.
Lock it up
Most thieves erase all identifying information from a phone within hours, sometimes minutes , after stealing it. Still, passwords on your phone's home screen can help protect your personal information in case it isn't wiped clean.

Know your numerals
Write down your phone's model number, serial number and unique device identification number. If your phone is stolen, you'll want to report these numbers to the police and to your carrier. There are several ways to find your phone's International Mobile Equipment Identifier or IMEI number. On most phones, you can dial *#06# and the number will pop up on your screen. Alternatively, you will find the IMEI and serial numbers on the label under the battery.

Use tracking apps
For the apps to work, the phone has to stay on. Increasingly practiced thieves know to turn the phone off and wrap it in aluminium foil before turning it back on, which thwarts the tracking technology . Still, it is worth installing an application to monitor your phone's whereabouts. Apple makes a free app, Find My iPhone, which can be turned on in Apple's iCloud or downloaded from iTunes. Android users have several options for free third-party tracking apps including Where's My Droid and Lookout. In addition to broadcasting a phone's location, many antitheft apps allow you to remotely lock your phone, wipe it clean of sensitive information and even remotely set off a screaming phone alarm.

Be a late adopter
Last month a woman was held up for her iPhone by two men, one with a gun, in El Cerrito, California, just east of San Francisco. After she handed it over, the robbers took one look at her older model iPhone and gave it back to her.
Just like the Apple fanatics camping out in front of Apple stores before a new iPhone is released, thieves want the latest model, too. Having one can make you a target.

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