In the past, stolen cellphones were usually resold to new owners at a cheaper price. But that was before our phones held so much personal information and now it's really easy to exploit this information to make more money off the stolen device. Data on your smartphone such as bank accounts, photos and emails could easy be used to commit crimes like identity theft.
It's a good thing there's plenty of preventative measures you can take to secure your smartphone if it gets lost or stolen. If a thief gets his or her hands on your Android or Apple phone, you will definitely want these defenses in place.
- Android Device Manager: This is a free app you can download from the Google Play store. If you lose your phone, you can log in to your Google account from another device and see a map of where it is. Getting the phone back is great, but the real saving grace is being able to wipe the phone clean; this app allows you to erase all your phone data and reset your lock screen passcode.
- Fingerprint: If you have the latest Android operating system, Marshmallow, then you can use your prints to buy and sign into apps and purchase things with Android Pay. If you enable this feature and your phone gets stolen, the thief won't be able to buy things through your device. To access this feature, open the "Settings" app. Under "Personal," tap "Security" then "Pixel Imprint" or "Nexus Imprint." Then just follow directions for scanning your prints.
- App-specific passwords: You can assign specific passwords to apps that hold private information (i.e., mobile banking, document sharing and emails). AppLock is a free app from the Google Play store where you can set up passcodes for apps, photos and videos. Since fingerprint locking doesn't work on older Android phones, this is a great alternative.