Cell phones and computers are prime targets for thieves.
The loss of these devices and data is bad enough but if they manage to use your data to strip accounts and run up huge bills, your life can get seriously complicated. Prevention is better than trying to fix the problem after it has occurred so please take measures to protect yourself and your devices.
The fact that some victims have had tracker apps installed on their devices has recently enabled responders to locate and apprehend perpetrators quickly leading to the rapid return of stolen property. Apply the 7 tips below and let’s make it harder for criminals commit crimes. Don’t delay!
And very importantly, if you do get your cellphone or laptop returned to you PLEASE immediately take it to Hout Bay SAPS for DNA testing. This can be done on site. If any DNA is found that can be linked to other cases it will assist in getting these regular offenders behind bars.?
Nobody wants to have their phone, tablet or computer stolen. But the reality is, theft happens. If a device is stolen, there are several unwelcome consequences that follow:
the hassle of reporting the theft and going through the official procedures
the financial cost of replacing the stolen item
the risk that the thief is misusing your personal data or undertaking fraudulent financial transactions in your name
How to protect your devices, data and privacy
We’d all like to believe that this would never happen to us, but ignoring the very real threat is simply counter-productive.
So what should you do, then?
The answer is to adopt a balanced approach: be aware without being paranoid and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from such crime.
1. Track your device
For peace of mind, get a security application that includes a tracking mechanism, along with lockdown or wipe facilities. You may already have something pre-installed (Android’s Device Manager, Apple's Find My iPhone, iPad and Mac, Windows' Find My Phone or BlackBerry Protect), or you could opt for other well-known apps like Lookout, AVG or Avast.
But your software can’t help unless you activate it, so get it up and running and find out how to use it.
2. Get the hardware details
Nobody likes paperwork, but police reports need a lot of detail. So, make a note of your device's serial number and model number. Also note its MAC address and computer name. In the case of mobile phones, also take down your phone’s IMEI number. This info can also be useful for tracking purposes.
3. Store it safely
If your stuff is easy to steal, you face a risk of theft. Physically secure your desktop PC with a lockdown plate. For both PCs and laptops, use cable locks or even security webcams.
When you can’t tie down smaller, more portable devices (tablet computer, USB flash drive or external hard drive), keep them out of sight when you’re away from them. And if you’re going on holiday without them, find creative places to hide them – like putting your tablet in a stack of towels, or your external hard drive behind a row of hard-to-reach books.
4. Stay alert in public
Thieves thrive in public spaces, so always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you – especially when using your device. Listening to loud music via headphones doesn’t really help, so try to avoid that if you can.
Sometimes, these criminals act like innocent passers-by, striking up conversation with you about your device. They may be waiting for the chance to snatch if from you, so be cautious with strangers.
5. Make it difficult for criminals
In a thief’s mind, easy access equals easy pickings. So when you’re in public, keep your device out of sight when you’re not using it. You also want to avoid unsafe hiding places, such as your back pocket or handbag.
When you’re using your device, keep a tight grip: hold it with both hands, spacing your fingers out or weaving them together.
Also set a unique ringtone on your phone. Criminals have been known to set off a popular default ringtone, then watch people pull their phones out to check if it’s their phone ringing. They then know where people are keeping their phones, which makes it easier to pickpocket them.
6. Report the theft
You also need to report the crime to the nearest police station and get a case number. This will be required by your insurance company, banks and any retailers should your identity be breached by the robbers and your accounts be accessed and used fraudulently. The police may not be able to recover your device, but they could use the information to track thieves selling mobile devices online or in pawn shops.
If you are robbed in a place where there are security guards on duty, report the crime to them so that they can be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
We do not charge for membership and there is no expectation that members have to contribute financially. However we need to maintain the systems that keep YOU safe.So we welcome donations from residents and businesses alike.
For more details on Area Safety Plans and the spending of area specific donations (ring-fenced funds) please contact your Area Leader.
Please help us to help you and make a donation today!