The smartphone ownership rate for American adults increased to 46% in 2012, this according to a study by Pew Research. This study does not include other mobile devices like tablets, laptops, and notebooks, but the use of these devices is also growing, with worldwide sales for just smartphones and tablets projected to hit 1.2 billion in 2013.
Thieves are also enjoying the rise of mobile devices, this device usage trend gives them more opportunities to swipe an unattended device and gain access to your personal data. In fact, laptop security company LoJack estimates that 2 million laptops are stolen every year.
Once a thief has their grubby hands on your personal device, it will not take them long to crack simple security measures and gain access into your accounts, and perhaps even your company’s data if this too is stored on your device. If you do happen to find yourself in this situation, then there are steps you can take to protect your sensitive information before it is stolen, here are some recommended security steps to take.
Change Your Passwords
The first step you will want to take is to log into all of your accounts associated with your stolen device and change your passwords. This not only includes financial accounts, like your bank, credit cards, bills, and investments accounts, but also your social accounts and communication tools, like email, instant messaging, and social media. You will want to use complex passwords with numbers and symbols, and do not reuse the same passwords for every account.
Monitor Your Accounts
You may want to put a freeze on your credit card accounts to block any fraudulent charges. You can also contact your credit card company and ask about monitoring and reporting services. If you have used your device to pay bills, then you may want to take the same monitoring precautions with you online accounts. Keep in mind your debit card as well, changing your pin number will block a thief from your account.
Report the Theft
Even if you have no leads on who stole your device, you will still want to file a report with the authorities and the manufacturer, be sure to include your device’s model and serial number. If you have yet to write down this information, then you should immediately do it and save it in a safe place. There is also a chance you can recover your device if you keep an eye out on local pawn shops and websites like eBay and Craigslist.
Notify Everyone Affected
If the device ripped off has sensitive company data, like information on your clients, then you may be legally obligated by your state to notify your clients of the data breach. This could bruise company’s reputation, but if you act quickly and offer your clients compensation, then your clients may be forgiving. If your data was well encrypted and you took proper proactive precautions the risks are lower.
The most effective security is the proactive kind. We at PACE Technical Services can install security software and walk you through best practices that will not only protect your device from physical theft, but will also protect you from hackers and cybercriminals as well. Give us a call at 905.763.7896, we can set up all of your devices with the strongest identity theft solutions on the market, and keep your identity safe from even the worst-case theft scenarios.