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If you’re planning to hit the ground running this Black Friday, you better keep a sharp eye on your smartphone.A new survey of 15 of America’s busiest malls revealed shoppers lost more than 2,000 wireless devices in the last year alone.
Half of the 2,200 hand-held gadgets were never retrieved by their owners, leaving them vulnerable in the hands of any crook with a clue how to work them, according to data protection firm Credant Technologies.
“Unsuspecting smartphone users have become victims of identity theft and fraud crimes perpetrated by criminals and the evidence is that these devices are increasingly a target of choice,” said Seán Glynn, vice president of marketing for Credant Technologies.
Consumers were most likely to lose track of their phones in food courts (60%) and the rest were reported lost in bathrooms, according to the survey. Of the lost devices, more than 90% were smartphones or tablets.
So before you start fighting your way through the holiday crowds this season, follow these simple steps to protect yourself from identity theft:
Stash it. Don’t go around using your smartphone to beat other customers away from that toy you’re reaching for on the top shelf. If it’s tucked away in your bag, you’re less likely to set it down and forget about it.
Use a password. It’s a pain to punch in a pin number to access your smartphone, but it’s the first line of defence against a potential thief. And don’t even think about going the ‘12345’ route, Credant says.
There’s an app for that. There are apps available (like iGotYa) that snap a photo of any person who tries to access your cell phone but can’t get past the passcode screen. Once they enter the incorrect code after a few tries, the phone takes a photo of the culprit and shoots it off to your email inbox. You can also use iLocalis or MobileMe, which let you track your iPhone long after it’s gone.
Before you head to the mall, check out 10 tips on how you can punch up your winter wardrobe on the cheap >