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Watch Out for Cellphone Thieves!

watch_outIt seems like everybody owns a cellphone. This might actually be the case; 175 million cellphones were sold last year in the U.S. alone. With the proliferation of cellphones in pockets, comes more cellphones being picked from pockets. Cellphone theft is on the rise, accounting for 1/3 of all thefts in the US. What’s being done to stop cellphone theft?

One solution that’s being proposed by law enforcement agencies and is in development from carriers is a cell phone kill switch. To be clear, this is not a switch that kills the cellphone user, but rather, it is a way to disconnect the phone remotely which would effectively “kill” the phone. A killed phone would be rendered useless for both calls and resale. This cellphone kill-switch procedure is also referred to as “bricking” because it makes the phone as useful as a brick.

Another protection that is already in place throughout much of the world is a database of stolen cellphones designed to protect consumers. The world’s biggest database of stolen cellphones is run by GSMA, a wireless trade group based in the UK. The GSMA database includes data from 43 countries and 100 wireless carriers. This cellphone database is being adapted by more countries and more carriers. Databases are not as fast as a kill switch, however, since it involves cooperation from law enforcement authorities along with legal proceedings.

Cellphone theft is a serious issue because more people are using their phones to access their personal information, and more businesses are using their phones to access sensitive company files. A stolen cellphone in the wrongbhands can lead to the theft of your identity, or a data breach towards your business. A stolen cellphone can do more than be inconvenient; it can ruin your reputation and sink your credit. What’s a victim of cellphone theft to do? Here are some damage control measures you can take if your phone is stolen.

Upon realizing that your phone was nabbed, the first thing that you will do is to contact your carrier. They may have a kill switch or something else in place that will cut off service and prevent the thief from running up your phone bill. You will next want to contact your friendly Los Angeles law enforcement agencies. With enough heads up and enough details given, they might be able to track down your phone and bring swift justice to the slimeball that ripped you off. Next, you will want to promptly go through your online accounts and change your passwords; this will help block a hacker from accessing your accounts with your stolen phone.

Cleaning up after a cellphone theft is stressful and can turn into a long process. Here are a few preventative measures you can take to make damage control easier:

  • Have a complete understanding of what is on your phone. From contacts to company data to social network activities.
  • Encrypt your passwords and communications.
  • Keep your phone locked when not in use.
  • Don’t take your eyes off your phone, ever.

TMS has a few security tricks up our sleeves to help protect your business from cellphone theft. Since many companies use smartphones and other devices to access their company’s network, we have discovered security policies and solutions that will help protect your entire company from cellphone thieves and hackers. Call us at 1 (626) 737-2960 to learn more.