iphone theftHold Onto Your Smart Phone!

Sure, you have a firewall and antivirus. Your laptop is encrypted. You never connect to public wi-fi. You’ve even been trained on spotting phishing scams. You are an alert, tech savvy consumer who isn’t likely to be duped into giving up your personal or company’s private data. But how strong is your grip??

The latest crime fad that could cause a data breach at your company is called “Apple Picking”. It’s a literal smash-and-grab approach to stealing your smart phone, and everything on it.

Why is this happening? Well, a stolen iPhone 5 currently sells for about $500 cash. I know what you’re thinking: “Well, they can track my iPhone and bust those crooks immediately!” You would think so, wouldn’t you?

Well, the fact is, they don’t catch these crooks. Once a phone is disconnected from the internet, they can’t track it, and the crooks know this. Then, all the thief has to do is change the “unique identifier”, and Viola! Your phone disappears forever.

There is currently a database that supposedly helps prevent reactivation of stolen phones, but it only works by tracking that unique identifier. Once it has been changed, the phone is off the map completely.

Who’s responsible? Law enforcement officials believe the cell phone manufacturers and carriers aren’t doing enough to quell the thefts. Cops can’t catch the thieves without the phone companies upgrading their anti-theft technology. It is simply too easy for someone to modify the unique identifier and reactivate a stolen phone. If it was harder to get away with using a stolen phone, stealing phones would be less profitable, and thefts would go down.

Right now, stealing phones is big business, like stealing cars was in the 1990’s. The car companies have finally made it harder for crooks to get away with stealing cars. (i.e. you can’t just jimmy the lock and hot wire a Caddy anymore.) So, lo and behold, the criminals have shifted their focus. Cell phone thefts now account for about 40% of all robberies in America.

What you should do: Be alert and hold on tight! Be mindful when your phone is out and be aware that some people might want to steal it. You wouldn’t walk down a crowded street waving five $100 bills around, so treat your phone the same way!