Smartphone Danger: Cell Users TargetedDecember 27, 2010 - 1:07 AM | by: stemple
We all do it, talk and text aimlessly on our cell phones in the mall or on the street, but did you know Smartphone crime is on the rise, especially among commuters?
Thieves are targeting expensive Smartphones (like iPhones and Droids). And, the holidays are a particularly vulnerable time.
Former D.C police detective Rod Wheeler put it this way to Fox News on Sunday, “You are basically holding money in your hand. Think about it. If you are sitting in a restaurant with you put your wallet or purse on the table while you are eating?”
Wheeler says thieves are motivated by a quick sell. “You can get $200 or $300 for a cell phone in the black market on the street or on the internet,” according to Wheeler.
And it’s not just your smartphone you need to worry about. Criminals who see you are distracted by texting or talking on your cell phone can easily steal your wallet, purse, and any items you have bought while out shopping.
Protecting yourself and your phone only takes a few common sense tips. “A wise thing to do is keep your cell phone away from folks. Don’t advertise your expensive cell phone as you are walking down the street. Keep it in your pocket,” Wheeler says.
This is particularly important for commuters on mass transit. Keep your smartphone in your bag while you are waiting at the subway and bus stops. If you are using your iphone or another device, don’t read a book, listen to music or other wise signal to thieves that you are distracted.
Several major cities have sent out alerts about a rise in smartphone crime. Washington, D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier issued one ahead of the holidays with a list of tips. In addition to not holding your phone out in the open and walking and talking on the phone, she advises you to mark the back of your phone with your name and alternate phone number in ultraviolet ink.
But most importantly, if your phone is taken, Wheeler’s advice is to “Just let the device go.” Wheeler says “There are a lot of applications, free of charge, that you can put on your cell phone. If it is stolen we can track that nowadays within 10 to 15-yards of where it may be located.”
“Find My iPhone” is one of those apps. It’s a free app that lets iPhone users lock, track and erase information from their iPhones remotely.
There are similar apps for other devices like the Droid. Verizon has rolled out a free one called “Mobile Recovery” that also lets you sound an alarm on your phone.
Patrick Skelley was one of the hundreds of the smartphone crime victims in Washington, D.C. He shared his story with Fox News this Sunday.
You can see his interview with Shannon Bream here: