Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekly Tip - Help Prevent Cell Phone Theft

8 Cell Phone Safety Tips - Thefts have Increased!

There has been an increase in cell phone thefts throughout Los Angeles County and the nation. Because cell phones are now an everyday part of life for most people, criminals have stepped up their thefts of your favorite communication device.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives and other police agencies have found several common denominators with cell phone thefts. Please read these on your smart phone (while you still have it) or Internet and help us to help you to reduce the cost, risks and hassle of having your phone stolen:

1. Password Protect Phone: Use the security lock code, or PIN feature, to lock your phone. Make it more difficult for others to access your personal information in your stolen phone.

2. Save Serial Number: Save your cell phone's serial number model and make, and keep it in a place where you can find it. Your serial number proves its yours.

3. Don't Store Secrets: Consider carefully what information you store in your phone. If it's stolen, it's not that difficult for bad guys to pull out your private information before clearing the memory and reselling the device. If it would create too big of a disaster if your information fell into someone else's hands, don't store it. You may not guarantee your phone won't be stolen, but if the information isn't in the phone, the thief can't use it for Identity Theft.

4. Activate Tracking Device: Activate the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system on your phone or other electronic device. If the device does not have a GPS tracking system, there is after-market software you can buy. Law enforcement likes tracking devices since they often lead to your stolen device and lots of other stolen property.

5. Distracted Walking and Talking: Stay aware of your surroundings. Don't walk down the street talking on your phone or texting unaware of your environment or of people nearby. Thieves it when you do that, and while you talk, they grab. Also, falling into a fountain or getting hit by a train is far worse than having your cell phone stolen.

6. Hide and Go Eat: When eating in a restaurant (or relaxing in a public place), don't leave your phone on the table. It's too easy for crooks to grab it and run. Put it away and enjoy your meal.

7. Don't Delay: If your phone gets stolen, find another phone to use and call your local sheriff's or police station as soon as possible. Call now, don't wait until you arrive at your next destination.

8. Be a Good Witness: If you see the suspect, don't try to get it back from the suspect. Use caution but try to get a good description of the suspect and vehicle (license number, color, and model) and the last known direction of travel. Write it down if you can and call the cops so we can get it back for you. That's why we're here.

Partner to prevent or report crime by calling your local Police or Sheriff’s station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or text the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637,) or using the website

*Adapted from a recent LASD tip post.

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