|NYPD Advice on Protecting |
Yourself Against "Apple-Picking"
Yes, the ability of victims or onlookers to call the police right away when they see a crime in progress is a big deterrent to crime. It's hard to remember the ancient days when you had to find a public phone to call the police.
But the new problem is that the iPhone itself is now a major theft target. I fell asleep on an Amtrak train last year and when I woke up my iPhone 4 was gone, as was a neighbor across the aisle. I was the victim of an Apple theft, sadder but perhaps wiser.
The good news is that my two-year contract period was over and I had no penalty to pay when I got myself a new iPhone. Also, the data were erased remotely and the phone was made unusable. I was lucky.
Turns out I am not alone in being an Apple Theft victim. In recent years iPhone and iPad theft has accounted for a rising percentage of major thefts (grand larcenies) - 18 percent of them in New York City. The rate has increased steadily since 2010. This form of theft is so common now that it has a name... "Apple Picking".
Here are three sets of advice about preventing loss of your iPhone and the data that are stored in it.
1. NYPD Advice
Recommendations to New Yorkers, BEFORE your smartphone is lost or stolen:
- Be Aware. Know your surroundings and be cognizant of your smartphone use behavior. Similar to your purse or wallet, it's best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it (e.g., leave it on a restaurant table, use it while walking or taking public transportation, allowing strangers to "borrow" it to get directions, etc.).
- Lock It. As soon as you get a new smartphone, set a hard-to-guess password to protect your device and change it on a regular basis. If you don't know how to set a password for your smartphones, here are video and print instructions.
- Add Apps. There are a number of apps available that will remotely track, lock and/or erase your smartphone. In addition, some apps will remote trigger an alarm so people know that smartphone is stolen or take a photo of the thief so you can send it to police.
- Save It. If you have photos, emails, contacts, videos or anything else that you want to make sure is available if your smartphone is ever lost or stolen, save it somewhere else such as on a computer, USB drive or cloud service.
- Insure It. Consider insuring your device through your wireless provider or a third-party entity so that if it is lost or stolen, your replacement device is covered (especially if there is a two-year contract to pay through).
The following steps require that Find My iPhone was enabled on your device before it was lost or stolen. Otherwise, go to #3.
- Attempt to locate your device using Find My iPhone at icloud.com/find, or using the free Find My iPhone app.
3. Apple's advice if you did not enable Find My iPhone on your missing device
- Change your iCloud password to ensure that no one else can use your device to delete or make changes to your iCloud data.