Open Phones: Your Rules for Protecting Your Smart Phone

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Has your smart phone been stolen? Did you get it back? Either way, we've got your practical, realistic tips for protecting smart phones with a real-world tip sheet from Brian Lehrer Show listeners.

Tips from the BL Show Crowd

Note: We're working on a handy picture-guide with these tips, so check back soon!

  • Tommy – Manhattan: sit far from subway doors. 
  • Lauren – Crown Heights: don’t leave it out on a table at restaurants. 
  • Melissa – Park Slope: don’t leave it on the table at outdoor cafes; sit further from sidewalk 
  • Howard – Bronx: don’t lend to strangers 
  • Jesse – Remind people about the “find my iPhone” feature 
  • Kathleen: Don’t let strangers “help” with your bags. 
  • Luther – San Francisco: engrave the back of the phone with “REWARD IF FOUND” 
  • Fran from Syosset: use a zippered, “unattractive” bag, keep it at the bottom of the bag, when it’s in your pocket keep your hand ON it in your pocket.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Official Tips

  • Take advantage of security applications. Consumers should take advantage of apps designed to deter theft
  • Apple users should upgrade to the latest operating system, iOS 7, and confirm “Find My iPhone” is enabled. This allows you to remotely track, lock and erase your data in the event that your phone is stolen. It also renders your device useless to thieves, further deterring theft.
  • Android users, the operating system on the bulk of non-Apple smartphones, should consider activating the “Android Device Manager,” which allows you to remotely track, lock and erase your data in the even your phone is stolen. 
  • There are many third-party security apps for Apple and Android smartphones to consider as well.

  • Password protect your phone.

  • Write down your model number, serial number and unique device ID, especially the International Mobile Equipment Identifier. Known as the “IMEI” number, this can be discovered by dialing *#06# or checking the battery compartment.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Smartphone thieves look for easy targets.
    • Do not walk and text, and avoid engaging in cell phone conversations while on transit.
    • Keep your cell phone and other device(s) in a pocket, purse, or backpack.
    • Never lend your phone to a stranger.
    • Don’t leave your phone out on a table in public.
    • Try to keep your phone out of sight and in a place not readily accessible, even if that means a slight inconvenience in accessing it yourself.

    • React quickly if your phone is stolen. Much as you would immediately report a stolen credit card to your credit card company, there are steps you should take immediately if your smartphone has been stolen.
      • Report the theft to the local police department. This will allow law-enforcement to monitor popular resale (SITES) for your device. Having a police report will also help you should you choose to file an insurance claim for stolen property.
      • Report the theft to your wireless carrier. This allows your carrier to deactivate the service and add your phone’s unique identifying information to a database that may prevent it from being used again.
      • Activate any security apps that you have installed.
      • If you own an iPhone, log in to your iCloud account, go to Find My iPhone, and put your phone in Lost Mode.