As we grow more accustomed to utilizing smartphones in day to day life, we may not be aware of the dangers that can go along with that usage. Loss or theft of a phone can impact your life in a big way.

Here are some helpful tips to make sure you don’t fall victim to thieves, scams, or lost data.

  1. Treat Your Phone like Your Wallet – When you travel, do you take your wallet out and count your money on the train or bus? Probably not. Your phone can be just as alluring to a ‘would be’ thief as an overstuffed wallet. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t play a bit of Minecraft during a long commute, but be aware of your body language. Will someone be able to snatch the phone out of your hands easily, or do you have a secure grip? Always be aware of the weight of your phone if it’s in your pocket. Be mindful of how the phone feels on your person at all times.
  2. Lock Your Screen – Let’s be honest, there are some smart, or lucky, thieves out there. There is no 100% sure way to secure your phone if someone wants it bad enough.  The first line of defense from someone getting to your personal data on a stolen phone is the lock screen. Depending on the brand of smart phone you have, the lock screen options will be different. Apple utilizes a numerical code, while some android devices use a pattern path in order to gain access to the device. Once you get into the rhythm of using a lock screen, it becomes second nature.
  3. Encrypt your data – To a knowledgeable thief, the lock screen is nothing more than a minor annoyance. They can work around those defenses with a few tricks then have access to all your information. It’s important to learn how to properly encrypt your data. Check with the phone manufacturer’s site or research some forums on how to do this for your specific device.
  4. Use apps for lost phones – Both Android and Apple devices have easy to use programs that assist you if your phone is lost. The Find iPhone app and various Android apps are great for locating a missing phone, sending a ringtone to the device, or erasing data if need be.
  5. Keep an eye on your phone bill – There are too many phone scams to include all of them in this short article. A brief Wikipedia search on ‘Phone Fraud’ will show that there are many ways scammers try to take advantage of people through their phones. Get in the habit of always checking your phone bill for odd charges and calls.
  6. Don’t allow every app access – There is absolutely no reason the ‘King Jelly Hyper-Swipe Mania’ app needs to know where you are located. Be careful of the information you are allowing apps to access. There are actually very few apps that need the info they ask you for. When in doubt, don’t allow.
  7. Report your phone stolen to your carrier – As soon as your phone is stolen, contact your service carrier. They can add it to a list of stolen phones and lock out others from using the calling services. Just make sure that you know your device’s IMEI number. The IMEI number is found in different places depending on the device. A quick google search should help you locate it quickly and easily. Write it down and put it in a safe place, just in case.

Theft can and does happen.  Following these tip will lessen the chances that it will happen to you, and if it does, significantly lessen the potential damage.