Smartphone Thefts Doubled During 2013

At the same time as major phone companies and cell service providers have agreed to implement smartphone kill-switches by 2015, Consumer Reports has released a new report showing that during 2013, smartphone theft doubled.

Smartphone Thefts Doubled During 2013We have been hearing over and over again during the past six months that smartphone theft is a major issue and it definitely is. Mark Leno, a California state senator, highlighted the issue by stating that half of all robberies in San Francisco involve a cell phone.

Based upon the Consumer Reports data, there were 3.1 million handsets stolen during 2013 in the United States alone, which is nearly a 100% increase over 2012 when just 1.6 million phones were taken.

To collect the data, Consumer Reports surveyed 3,110 Americans with home Internet connections, so the information may not be completely accurate. What is definitely true however, is that smartphone theft has been steadily increasing now that the majority of people are carrying around expensive devices everywhere they go.

The survey also looked at how consumers are protecting their devices. 36 percent of the respondents said that they have a 4-digit PIN enabled on their phone, 29 percent said that they back up their smartphone’s data to either the cloud or a computer, and 22 percent utilize location software to find their phone when they lose track of it.

One concerning figure from the survey was that 34 percent of respondents stated that they do not use any sort of security to protect their devices. Leaving a phone open to theft or other forms of attack is definitely not a good idea when you take into account how often robberies occur.

California’s Mark Leno may not be satisfied with the smartphone companies agreeing to implement kill-switches by 2015, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. As previously noted on Tapscape, Leno’s primary complaint is that the agreement is “opt-in” and while that may be true, some of the largest phone companies in the US have already chosen to opt-in.

Question – Do you protect your smartphone in order to prevent or deal with theft?


Summary: A survey from Consumer Reports shows that smartphone theft doubled between 2012 and 2013. At the same time, a large portion of survey respondents do not secure their phones. 

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