According to recent statistics from Pew Research Center, more than half of American adults (61 percent) own a smartphone. That’s a staggering number, and one that will surely grow over the next few years. Another interesting and alarming stat is that according to crime statistics, more than 1.6 million of us had our smart-phones stolen last year. That’s another number that will certainly grow, as they’re easy targets for thieves of the night.
I couldn’t come up with a solid number regarding how many people lost their phones last year, but you can bet it’s in the millions.
So, the big problem with lost and stolen phones, besides losing the actual device, is the scary thought of a no-good thief instantly gaining access to all of your personal information, which so many of us store on our little handheld addictions. Between texts, images, linked email accounts, and all of the apps on any given device, there’s a potential gold mine for identity thieves who will completely destroy your world if given a chance.
Since the odds of losing your device at least once, whether to theft or accident, is pretty high, you need to take protective measures now to ensure that if the misfortune happens, you’ll be protected — and possibly even recover the phone.
For Android users, your best bet for the highest level of protection and tracking capabilities would be installing the newly launched Android Device Manager app. If your phone is lost, simply use ADM to “ping” it and enable the volume on its loudest setting, even if you had it on vibrate. If you think you lost it in public, you can log onto a web-based platform and find your phone within a 22 meter radius. Pretty cool, huh?
Worst case scenario, if your phone was stolen and you’re able to ping it remotely to find its location, you can quickly file a police report and give law enforcement the location it’s in. Or, with this app, you can remotely “wipe” all of your data in one swift click of a button.
For iPhone users (and tablets), the highest rated and most effective tool for doing the same thing as mentioned above would be the free app known as “Find My iPhone.” This app can ring the device, remotely lock and/or wipe the phone and display a message to the person who found it, giving them a chance to return it to you immediately.
Another really cool app is one called Plan B. If you’ve not been responsible and haven’t installed some kind of protective app on your phone, Plan B may be your answer. This app allows you to install the app on your phone, remotely, after the device has been lost. Through a series of texts, you can send it commands which will then email you the location of the phone and whether or not it’s sitting still or on the move.
I’m highly surprised these type of apps aren’t installed by default on every smartphone that is sold, since so many people misplace them. But on the other hand, less stolen phones means less purchases of new ones.