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Survey: Stolen Phones Hard to Recover Despite Tracking Tools

by Fox Van Allen on May 09, 2014

Woman's phone being pickpocketed A new survey of mobile phone owners in the U.S. and Europe suggests that you have less than 1-in-3 odds of recovering a stolen smartphone despite the prevalence of tracking tools like Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager, mobile security firm Lookout is reporting.

It’s no secret that mobile phone thefts have been on the rise nationwide for some time. Nearly 1 in 10 smartphone owners have fallen victim to a phone thief at one time or another, the study says. Of those who had reported having a phone stolen, only 32% were eventually able recover their lost device.

Another interesting tidbit from the survey: When it comes to smartphone theft, we’re our own worst enemy. Most thefts – 44% – occur because the owner accidentally left the device somewhere in public. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that restaurants top the list of where phones are stolen the most, just ahead of bars/nightclubs and the workplace.

One of the smartest ways to avoid phone theft, therefore, is to not put your device down on counters and tables while in public. Make a habit of stowing it safely in a pocket or purse. Likewise, you should avoid leaving your phone unattended in your car, even if it’s locked – 14% of all smartphone thefts occur during burglaries of cars or homes.

You should put a passcode lock on your smartphone to help protect your data even if your phone does get stolen. Keep your phone backed up, and under most circumstances your lost data can be restored onto a new device.

You might also want to consider buying a phone insurance policy that covers theft. It won’t keep the bad guys away from your device, but it’ll lessen the blow should they get their hands on it. Be careful to read the fine print before you sign up, though – not all policies cover theft, and many have limitations on claims.

For more on the mobile phone theft study, visit the Lookout blog. For more information on dealing with smartphone theft, read Techlicious’s how-to guide for tracking a missing smartphone.

[Phone Pickpocket via Shutterstock]


Phones and Mobile, News, Cell Phones, Blog

Discussion loading


From Santosh on May 11, 2014 :: 12:13 am

The article misses out on an important suggestion.  I forgot my phone in a cab and the cab driver later reached out to me on the alternate contact number I had set on the lock screen. Everbody should do that first - Android settings -> Security -> Owner Info.


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