So far this year, over 40 percent of thefts in New York have involved cell phones. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, it’s because of all the fancy smartphones out there. “The use of iPhones and smart phones is exploding, but unfortunately so are thefts of these expensive devices,” Schumer said yesterday. If the thefts continue apace, there will be over 11,000 phones stolen in New York City this year.
According to DNA Info, Schumer is calling on phone companies to start disabling phones remotely in case of theft, a practice that is already common in the UK and used by Verizon. The way things currently are, thieves can simply change the SIM card and keep using the phone that they plucked from your open bag as you sat there half-asleep on the subway, or that they snatched out of your hand as you shuffled, zombie-like, down the street staring at the screen of said phone.
The NYPD offers the following tips for not getting your phone jacked:
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Thieves may be watching you.
- Use your cell phone security lock.
- Avoid becoming distracted by your cell phone conversation when walking on the street.
- Keep your cell phone out of site [sic]. Don’t hang it from your purse of jacket [sic].
- Switch the ringer off to avoid attracting the attention of thieves.
- Never loan your cell phone to a stranger. In case of an emergency, offer to make the call for them.
- Consider using hands-free technology.
- If your phone is lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to your cell phone service provider and the police.
All of those sound fine, except for using hands-free technology. Don’t be one of those people with a Blueooth headset; we can’t decide whether you’re talking on the phone or just crazy, and we’re inclined to assume it’s the latter.