Survey: Nearly 3.1M Smart Phones Stolen; More Than Half Never Recovered

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014  |  Updated 6:16 AM EDT
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Survey: 1 Cell Phone Stolen Every 10 Seconds

Consumer Reports

In the last year, smart phone thefts have nearly doubled to 3.1 million, according to Consumer Reports survey. And more than a million of those phones are never seen again.

Shari Dipaola knows the nightmare of losing a phone.

“It’s almost a panic situation because if someone else gets hold of your phone they have all the texts that you sent out, where you’re going, what your schedule is, who you’re meeting,” Dipaolasaid.

Dipaola secures her phone with a passcode. But a Consumer Reports’ survey found more than half of smart phone owners fail to take that basic precaution.

And what about getting your phone back? Mike Gikas with Consumer Reports says you’ll have better luck if you think ahead.

“The simplest step: tape your email address to the back of the phone.”

Another precaution: 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; the survey found less than a quarter of smart phone owners use one.

Android phones have it built in. Just go to your settings menu and select the "Android Device Manager." In Settings, be sure to activate “access location.”

iPhone users will have to install “Find My iPhone” from the app store. Make sure you’re 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," Gikas explains. "If it’s far away, or you can’t see it, push the erase button.”

If your phone is lost or stolen, Consumer Reports says 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. Also, let your bank and credit card companies know that your phone is missing, too.

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