How to catch a phone thief, with your phone

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Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year was ‘selfie’. Every smartphone user has likely used their phone to take a photo of themself. But what happens if your phone is stolen?

According to a Consumer Reports survey, 3.1 million Americans have had their phones stolen in 2013. Cellphone carriers are not going to solve this issue; instead, it’s up to you.

Worried you can’t protect your phone at all times? Don’t worry, because a new solution will be available to you on June 4. Lookout, a mobile security firm, created a tool that tracks phone thieves by taking a snapshot.

The Lookout app alerts you if there is suspicious behaviour on your phone such as multiple mistyped password attempts. For $30 per year, in the event of a phone theft, you will receive an email informing you of your phone’s location and photos of the person holding it.

It is not recommended that civilians become phone detectives going door-to-door accusing people of stealing their phone. A better solution is to inform law enforcement officials of the evidence Lookout provides you.

Another option is Apple’s Find My iPhone. However, the app is less effective if it is turned off. If your phone is turned on, then the app will lock your screen and provide information on how to return the phone.

Android users can purchase a $30 per year service called Absolute LoJack. The newest Samsung Galaxy phones already have Absolute LoJack built into the system with the ability to reinstall itself. The service includes it’s own investigator who reads your phone’s digital activity and works along the police to ensure your phone is found.

If you are prone to losing your phone, then the Lookout and Absolute LoJack apps are worth the investment. For iPhone users, turn on Find My iPhone and act fast if your phone is stolen.

If you have stories or advice about catching phone thieves, please phone us or drop us an email, we would love to hear your stories. You can also share this article with your friends to help prevent more phone thefts from occurring.

We're Integris. We're always working to empower people through technology.

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