So makes sure that you know whether your service provider is locking or blocking your phone or both. This one is simple but often overlooked.
You need to place a PIN code on your phone. This should obviously be memorable but do avoid useless combinations of numbers, such as — this will be the first thing that a thief will try. If you are using an Android phone and are using the pattern unlock feature make sure that this is set up not to show the pattern you use. It is as important to use a PIN code for your voicemail as it is to use one for your phone. If you have not done so already set up a PIN for your voicemail now. British Police recommend that you set your phone to automatically lock itself after 60 seconds of inactivity.
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Downloading a tracking app is vital if you want to recover your stolen phone. According to the Police in the UK these apps are the only way that they can track your device. There are dozens of apps on the Google Play Store and the iTunes store designed to help you track your phone if it is lost or stolen.
Many of these operate on a freemium basis, so you have access to some basic features for free but will have to pay to access more powerful ones. One of the best apps you can download to help you track your phone is Lookout Mobile Security. But more importantly it has a number of features designed to let you recover your phone should it be lost or stolen.
Android users that have upgraded to the premium version of the app are able to remotely lock their phones and even wipe them. You can also download Dropbox for iOS and Android smartphones. If the Police do manage to recover your phone you will need to prove that your phone is actually yours. You will need to make sure each of these will be inaccessible to the person who has taken your phone. These accounts not only give the thief access to post content on your accounts but also allows them to access your personal information, leaving you open to various forms of identity theft.
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Changing your social media and email passwords is only part of the story. You should also remotely log out of these accounts. This means that if you are permanently logged into your Gmail or Facebook account on your phone those sessions will be closed and your phone will ask anyone who tries to access them for your username and password. If you use your phone for work, or your phone was given to you by your employer, then you will also need to inform them. They may have to declare your phone stolen to Data Protection Authorities and will likely want to see a Police report of the theft.
If you have taken insurance out on your phone then remember that many insurance companies require you provide a Police report of the stolen phone. Make sure you know what your insurer requires of you or you could find that even they will refuse to pay out on your stolen smartphone.
Keep an eye on your bank account — if someone does have your phone and you are unable to protect it they can rack up a significant bill. Your financial statements will tell you how your phone is being used. Featured image by Bigstockphoto. Cerberus is an alternative to Lookout and has more functionality.
Eg send text to phone.
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Handy if someone has found it rather than stolen it. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Your cell phone records every location you visit if the phone's location services are turned on, which is more often than not. Called cell-site location information, this data is tracked on both Android devices and iPhones. The information can be quite telling; it might show the location of your home, your office, and other places you visit often. The problem is that it can teach police about a person's behavior and then can be used against them.
In some states, the data can be used without a warrant. Across the country police are using this data to track and catch suspects, and the resulting cases are often challenged in court. Since it's collected by cellular service providers, the data falls under what's known as the third-party doctrine , which states that by giving information to a third party—banks, internet service providers, email servers, or in this case, phone companies—users have no reasonable expectation to privacy.
Still, suspects in these types of cases often claim that by accessing their cell phone data without probable cause or a warrant, law enforcement is violating their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. In some instances courts have agreed with these arguments, resulting in a patchwork of guidance governing how the data can be used.
For instance, in Commonwealth v. Augustine , Massachusetts' highest court ruled that the government's acquisition of this data should require a warrant.
Meanwhile, four Courts of Appeals have opined on the issue, and only one, the Fourth Court of Appeals , deemed it necessary for government to obtain a warrant first. These divergent rulings mean that a person could travel to four different states and have widely varying levels of privacy protection for the information collected in each places.
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In some instances, location-specific data can be fully protected, in others not at all. In one state, law enforcement may only be able to access historical data, and in another they may be able to track a person in real-time. Six states—California, Utah, Montana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine—currently require a warrant for all cell-site location information.
Illinois, New Jersey, and Indiana require warrants for real-time tracking only. Thirty-three states have no binding authority or explicitly allow for law enforcement to access this data without a warrant. That is more than half of US states that offer no protection for extremely personal information. Because of this hodgepodge of regulation, or lack thereof, police often claim authority to access this information without a warrant.
The absence of consistent protections for citizens opens up the opportunity for rampant abuse by law enforcement. Lisa Marie Roberts of Portland, Oregon, was wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 10 years because of how law enforcement used this data.
Her cell phone registered a site near the scene of a murder, and because her attorney wasn't able to analyze the data or hire an expert, he advised Roberts to plead guilty to receive a reduced sentence. In , a federal judge granted her release after DNA evidence led to another suspect. In Minnesota, Sarah Jean Mann sought a restraining order against her boyfriend, a state narcotics agent who she claimed abused his access to cell-site data information to stalk her. She was granted the order and the man is no longer a police officer. Cops Have a Database of M Faces.