Losing your phone can be devastating and scary, but those feelings can be lessened if you have prepared yourself with the following tips.
1. Use your lock screen feature – sure it may seem like a hassle to have to enter a password every time you want to use your phone, but a few seconds of your time will ensure peace of mind if your phone is lost or stolen.
2. Use apps for lost phones – most phone manufacturers and their operating systems have some sort of loss prevention or theft recovery application that can help you find your stolen phone or at the very least wipe away your information remotely if recovery does not seem like an option. These applications range from free to paid depending on the features and levels of security enabled.
3. Keep an eye on your phone bill – the most common type of smartphone malware is called toll fraud. It is a malicious software that authorizes charges to be put on your cell phone bill.
4. Don’t allow every app to access your location information – most applications do not need your location information to work properly. GPS software and phone location software are pretty much the only applications that should be allowed to access your location, all others should have this setting disabled.
5. Encrypt your data – even with a locking feature enabled, a thief can still plug your phone into a computer and snoop around that way. Adding encryption to your phone is only really necessary if you are dealing with sensitive information on a regular basis.
6. Report your phone stolen to your carrier – in November of 2012 the cell phone service carriers came together to create a database and procedure for ending the stolen smartphone market. Now you just have to call and report the phone stolen and they will add it to the list. They use the IMEI number, so if you want to save some time and frustration when reporting your phone lost/stolen have this number written down somewhere safe for quick retrieval. Once your phone is added to this list, no one will be able to use it again without you calling and saying it’s ok (except for emergency calls).
While it is intimidating to think of all the information accessible through your smartphone being at risk for theft, keeping yourself protected should give you all you need to take full advantage of this wonderful technology.