Smartphone Safety

Taking simple precautions to secure your cell phone can protect you and your family.

A growing problem in all communities nowadays is the theft of cell phones.  The average wireless user spends a lot of time texting, talking and browsing the Internet, which usually means smartphones contain their personal information. But what happens to that data if your smartphone is lost or stolen?  CTIA-The Wireless Association®, an international nonprofit membership organization representing the wireless communications industry, aims to help consumers combat smartphone thefts.  CTIA encourages consumers to use their device’s features in order to reduce the potential of identity theft.  Here are some helpful tips:


BEFORE your smartphone is lost or stolen:

1.Be Aware. Know your surroundings and be cognizant of your smartphone use behavior. Similar to your purse or wallet, it's best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it (e.g., leave it on a restaurant table, allow strangers to "borrow" it for directions, etc.).

2.Lock It. As soon as you get a new smartphone, set a hard to guess password to protect your device and change it on a regular basis. If you don't know how to set a password for your Android, BlackBerry, iOS (Apple) or Windows smartphones.

3.Add Apps. There are a number of apps that will remotely track, lock and/or erase personal information on your smartphone. In addition, some apps will remotely trigger an alarm so people know that smartphone is stolen or take a photo of the thief so you can send it to police. By adding these apps now, in the event your smartphone is stolen or lost, your personal information will be protected.

4.Save It (Again). If you have photos, emails, contacts, videos or anything else that you want to make sure is available if your smartphone is ever lost or stolen, save it somewhere else such as a computer, USB drive or cloud service.

5.Insure It. You may want to consider insuring your device through your wireless provider or a third party entity so that if it is lost or stolen, your replacement device is covered.


AFTER your smartphone is lost or stolen:

1.Report It. If you know your smartphone is stolen, immediately notify your wireless provider so you can avoid incurring charges on the usage. You may also report your smartphone stolen to your local law enforcement agency. Let them know what tracking or other kinds of apps you have installed that may help them locate the thief. If your device is lost, tell your provider to put a "hold" on your account so that if it ends up being stolen, you've prevented unauthorized usage.

2.Locate it. CTIA and its members remind you that your safety should always be your number one priority so you should never attempt to recover your smartphone on your own. But since you've already installed apps that can remotely track your smartphone, activate the app from a safe location. In addition to tracking, remote lock your smartphone so the thief cannot access your personal information.

3.Erase It. If you have sensitive information, such as financial, health or work, or you believe your smartphone won't be returned, it's best to remote erase, or "wipe" it. Essentially, wiping your smartphone is similar to resetting it to its default, or factory installed settings. If you stored any passwords on your smartphone, it's a good idea to change them.

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Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137