Smart phone theft a growing problem - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Smart phone thefts a growing problem

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Smart phone thefts are on the rise. Based on a  newly released survey, Consumer Reports estimates the number of stolen phones nearly doubled in the past year to 3.1 million. Of those more than a million smart phones were lost and never recovered.

Consumer Reports has important advice on how to protect your phone against theft and loss. First, it is essential to secure your phone with a pass code, but Consumer Reports survey found more than half of smart phone owners fail to take that basic precaution. Four digits are better than nothing, but the strongest pass codes have at least eight digits in them and have a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.

And what about getting your phone back? Consumer Reports says you will have better luck if you think ahead. The simplest step is to tape your email address to the back of the phone.

Another precaution they suggest is to write down your phone's unique ID, which police may need if the phone is lost or stolen. You can find the ID by dialing *#06#. 

Consumer Reports also recommends setting up a "find my phone" account, though the survey found less than a quarter of smart phone owners use one.

Android phones have an account already built in. All users have to do is go into their Google settings and click the Android Device Manager. In Settings, be sure to activate "access location."

On iPhones, install the "Find My iPhone" from the app store. Make sure you are signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID.  

If your phone goes missing, sign into the account from a computer or tablet. Look for the phone on the map. If it's far away or if you can't see it, push the erase button.

If your phone is lost or stolen, Consumer Reports says to change the password on all your important accounts and file a report with the police. You may need the police report to dispute unauthorized charges on your credit cards. You should also let your bank and credit card companies know that your phone is missing. 

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products including appliances, vehicles and electronic gear are available on the Consumer Reports website

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.