Protecting Yourself Against Cell Phone Thefts

Did you know that several years ago, Atlanta was identified as the number one city in the country for cell phone thefts?  Recent local news articles have indicated cell phones thefts have increased.  MARTA riders are a particular target for cell phone thefts. 

Cell Phone Theft Problem

Because of the expense with new smart phones, cell phone thefts have become the fastest growing crime in the country.  Thieves sell the cell phones or rack up huge bills with international calls. Americans now spend $30 billion per year replacing lost or stolen phones.  We have virus protections for our desk top computers.  What happens when someone steals your cell phone and the personal information you have on it?

Here are 10 tips from to help prevent you from becoming a victim of cell phone theft. 

Record your details

As soon as you get a new device, record all the details about it including phone number, IMEI, make, model, PIN or security code and any other numbers used to identify the phone. Store this information in a place away from the phone. Most phones have a very simple key-in method to retrieve IMEI/MEID numbers: enter a 5-digit string—*#06#—and the number will be displayed on your phone.

Register your phone with your network operator

Register your phone with your network provider.  If your phone is stolen, report the loss to them immediately. Using your registered IMEI number, they may be able to block your hand set and account details. Some wireless carriers are willing to do this, and some aren’t. If done, this will prevent anyone from using the phone across any network, even if the SIM card is changed.

Keep the phone in a safe place

There’s no place you could hide a phone that would be absolutely secure, some are better than others. Some places that are just too vulnerable are the outer pocket of a backpack, back pocket of jeans or a front pocket of a jacket. A better spot for the phone is inside a zippered compartment of your purse or an inside jacket pocket.

Lock your phone

Create a password for your phone.  Yes, this is an extra step for using your phone. If a thief does get your phone, it won’t do him any good if he can’t turn it on or access the information on your SIM card without a password.
Never let the phone out of your sight

Don’t put your cell phone down. Every week there are thefts involving people who left their phones on the table at a club or restaurant.  Why make life easy for crooks?

Be on your guard

Don’t be stupid—focus on your safety, not your phone. Be extra careful in crowded places like fast food places, nightclubs, which are havens for thieves because there are so many people in close quarters.

Use a Hands-free Unit

If all that’s visible to crooks is your headset, they have no idea where you’ve stashed your phone, or whether it’s even worth stealing. Yeah, you look like you’re talking to yourself, but isn’t that better than having your phone stolen?

Dump the ear buds

Everyone including thieves knows that the iPhone comes with white ear buds. To avoid telling the whole world that there’s an iPhone in your pocket, switch out the ear buds for a less recognizable set.

Install anti-theft software

Do an app search for “anti-theft” and you’re sure to find one.  Apple has an “Activation Lock” option for the iPhone to iOS 7. Samsung added a “kill switch” to its Galaxy SIV. The “LoJack” feature allows users to delete data from the device and prevent it from being rebooted if stolen.  Do a search for apps that can protect your phone. Install it on your phone.

File a police report

If your phone is stolen, file a police report immediately.  Also contact your network provider. The crook could be using it to place long distance calls all over the world that will turn up on your bill. The carrier may ask to see a police report, so be sure you get one.


Following the above tips will not absolutely protect your phone from thieves.  It will make it much harder.    Be safe and keep your cell phone safe!