Smartphone thefts are on the rise. In fact last year, half of all robberies in San Francisco involved a smartphone, which is why police came up with this list of tricks to help us prevent smartphone thefts from happening, or outsmart thieves after they take our phones:
First: Don’t be a “sidewalk texter.” That’s the term experts use for people who text as they walk in public, unaware of what’s going on around them. Because thieves have perfected the art of hitting sidewalk texters in the back of the head, for example, and then catching their phone in midair as it goes flying. But if you’re always paying attention to your surroundings when you use your phone, you’ll be less of a target.
Also: Don’t buy the latest gadgets. Thieves want the latest models of the most popular phones, because they’re easier to sell, so waiting a few months to buy the latest smartphone will make you less of a target. In fact, a woman was recently robbed at gunpoint, but as soon as the robbers noticed she had an older model iPhone, they gave it back to her and ran.
So, what if your phone does get stolen? Experts say you’ll spare yourself a lot of hassle if you put a password on it. Because with a password, thieves will have a hard time accessing the personal information on your phone.
Finally, know your phone’s numbers. As in the model number, serial number, and the International Mobile Equipment Identifier, or IMEI. Most new phones list all that information on the back, under the battery, or you can get it by dialing #-0-6-#. Not only will those numbers help police identify your stolen phone if it’s recovered, but your phone company can use those numbers to trace your phone’s signal, and remotely “brick” it, which means locking the phone so that nobody else can use it.