Mobile Device Safety

Pamphlet

Lower your phone's profile in public

As smart phones have become more popular and more expensive, phone theft is increasing dramatically. According to the Federal Communications Commission, one in three robberies nationwide now involves taking a phone.

Students should know their mobile devices are at risk when they're using them in public, for example at a library, coffee shop or restaurant, or while in transit on public transportation, particularly when boarding or leaving a bus, streetcar, or train. Today's smartphone is a full-fledged computer that stores all kinds of sensitive personal data: passwords, contacts, documents, Internet history, and more.

Minimize the use of your phone in public and stay aware of your surroundings!

Don't leave your phone, tablet, or notebook computer unattended. Prevent snatch-and-run robberies by keeping the device in your pocket, purse, backpack, or otherwise out of sight. Likewise, don't leave mobile devices in plain view inside a parked car.

Report your lost or stolen device to the police and your carrier

Whether you lock the phone or wipe its data, contact your carrier to report the device as lost or stolen as soon as possible. If the phone was stolen, contact the police as soon as possible. Having your device's serial number available will aid police in the process of relocating the device.

If you're able to track a stolen phone using a locator app, do not attempt to confront the thief directly, contact the police and relay that location to them. Several location-tracking apps let you use the device's camera to take a picture of the thief that is e-mailed to you automatically. This may help prosecute the thief after he or she is apprehended, but it may not improve the chances of recovering the phone.

You should always be aware of what's going on around you when using your phone in public and always be sure you put it someplace secure after use. Installing a passcode for your phone and requiring passwords for sensitive apps like banking is also a good idea. There are a number of programs for your mobile devices that can aide in recovery of lost or stolen devices. While we cannot recommend any we list a few here as examples in no particular order.

To help recover lost or stolen devices: