Mobile devices are one of the hottest items for thieves to target. According to reports from Consumer Reports and LoJack, 2013 saw the theft of two million laptops and three million handsets. What this means for you is that having your mobile device stolen is probably a lot more likely than you would think.
The loss of a mobile device means much more than just losing a piece of pricy technology (which can be replaced). It also means the loss of the data stored on the device, and easy access to all the accounts associated with the device if the thief doubles as a hacker (which could lead to identity theft). Not having access to one’s data is why, in a recent survey by IDG Research, 50 percent of phone-theft victims said they would pay a ransom of $500 just to get their phone back, while another one-third would pay $1,000.
Obviously, having your mobile device lost or stolen is a big deal, especially if the device contains corporate data. If you happen to find yourself in this predicament, what are you going to do next? Let’s assume for a moment that you didn’t have the foresight to install any of the great security apps on your device, allowing you to track down the phone’s location or remotely shut it down. Without the assistance of any preventive security solutions, a thief will only have a lockscreen standing between them and your data.
Here are four steps that will let you control the damage caused by a lost or stolen mobile device.
Contact Your Mobile Service Provider
Contacting your phone’s service provider about the theft is a good move because, depending on the make and model of your phone and the details of your service contract, your service provider may be able to remotely access your smartphone and “brick it” (render it useless). At the very least, notifying your service provider will prevent the thief from making calls using your account. Also, it’s important that you quickly contact your mobile service provider about the missing device. Otherwise, the thief will be able to bypass this “bricking” feature by removing the SIM card and still have access to the data stored on your device.
Change All of Your Passwords
If the thief happens to gain access to your smartphone or laptop, they’ll easily be able to open all accounts associated with the device. We don’t have to tell you how devastating this can be, especially if your bank account or corporate network were to be accessed. One of the best ways to keep a thief like this out of your accounts is to login to all of them and change the passwords. You’ll want to do this sooner than later so that the thief doesn't have enough time to figure out your passwords.
Report the Theft to the Authorities
While it’s unlikely that reporting the theft of your mobile device will lead to a full-scale investigation, it will give them information they can use to spot patterns, which might be enough to eventually get your device back. You never know.
Notify Everybody Affected
The toughest part comes next: notifying everyone that the device is gone. It can be embarrassing to contact everybody about your negligence, but you may be actually legally obligated to do it. The reason why it’s so important to do this is because the data connected to the lost device could lead to stolen identities. As humbling as it will be to write that email to your clients, they will appreciate the fact that you’re taking proactive measures to protect their sensitive information. To help smooth things over, paying for a year’s worth of identity theft insurance will go a long way.
By taking these four steps, you should have a good grasp on damage control. Moving forward, the best way to protect yourself and your business from this all-too-common event of mobile device theft is to reach out to XFER at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337. Call us to learn more about proactive mobile security solutions designed to give you a fighting chance.
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