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VisiCom Services has been serving the Rochester Hills area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

What to Do When Your Smartphone Gets Stolen

b2ap3_thumbnail_lost_my_phone_400.jpgAs with anything else that's deliberately taken from you, having your smartphone stolen can be one of the most frustrating experiences ever. After all, many of us use them to keep us on point with our daily tasks. Measures are being taken by legislators and cell phone companies to help curb the issue, but there are ways that you can prevent and react to your phone being stolen.

Within the last few years, smartphone theft has become a huge issue in the United States. According to the Washington D.C. Police Department, nearly 40% of theft in major U.S. cities is attributed to smartphone theft. More and more criminals are shifting their focus on mobile devices because, frankly, they're relatively easy to swipe, and are easily resold for a lot of money. There are several reports of thieves stealing smartphones from people in mid-conversation, getting creative by using bicycles to quickly snatch devices and disappear, and even going as extreme as robbing at gunpoint.

Obviously there's a lot of risk associated with having your personal smartphone stolen. Think about all that you use your device for. It most likely carries your personal contact information, schedule information, access to social media accounts, financial information, photos, personal notes, and much more sensitive data. Do you use your smartphone for any business purposes? A stolen smartphone could be putting your company's contacts, their financial information, and your company's trade secrets at stake. If your smartphone got stolen, not only would your personal information be jeopardized, but you'd be putting your whole company's integrity at risk. You can't afford to take this risk. Let's look at some practical ways to prevent smartphone theft.

Prevention
Be Aware. You should always be mindful of the possibility that your device could be stolen. Don't be overly anxious about it, but simply be aware that your device could be stolen in any public situation. Just use common sense. Don't leave your smartphone exposed in plain sight without you near it. Also, you may need to use extra caution when letting strangers use your device for "directions".

Use Password Locks. Always secure your smartphone with a password protected lock screen. You may even want to change your password frequently to ensure its security. This way, in the event that your device gets stolen, you'll keep the thief from accessing its contents.

Download Security Apps. Each smartphone is compatible with special security apps that can track, lock, and erase their contents when needed. The key factor is to download and activate the apps before an issue occurs. This way, you'll be able to track exactly where your phone is located, put an extra security lock on it, and even erase it if it gets stolen.

Backup Data. If the thief got the best of you, and you weren't able to retrieve your device, it would be extremely beneficial to just connect a new device to your account and have it download your data automatically. These backups contain your photos, phone settings, contacts, app downloads, and more. This makes it so that you don't lose any information on top of already losing your device. The key here is to make frequent backups, and store them externally on your computer or external hard drive.

Enforce Security Policies. Your company's email server has the ability to dish out security policies for all mobile devices that access company email. This gives the employer the ability to wipe the device in the event it is lost, enforce data encryption and password protection.

Reaction
Here's how most of us react to our phone being stolen:

Hopefully this article will inspire you to implement some of the preventative measures that we talked about earlier to increase your chances of not having your device stolen. However, if you can't locate and retrieve your stolen phone, here is how to effectively react (without crying and punching things).

Report It. Immediately after realizing that your smartphone has been stolen, notify both the police and your service provider. The police will document the incident, which provides proof of the theft if you ever need it. Your service provider will be able to cut off service to your phone. After you've deleted your data and you're sure that your device is stolen, removing service to your device will ensure that whoever currently has it can't make pricey overseas calls, and they can't spam your contacts.

Tell your Employer. We know that you are going through a sensitive time, but biting the bullet and telling your employer is extremely important. It may be required that your company notify clients that their information has been compromised, and action will need to be taken if the proper security measures are in place to wipe the device remotely.

Having your smartphone stolen is a terrible feeling. You can't afford the risk that you put on yourself, your clients, and your business if your device gets stolen. We urge you to implement the practices that we've just talked about to ensure the utmost safety for you and your company. Reach out to us at 248.299.0300 for consulting.

Have you ever had your smartphone stolen? How did you react? Do you have any more tips to offer? Let us know in the comments.

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