Disaster Diverted: Lookout for Lost Mobile Phones

mobile security application

Lookout app for lost mobile phones - image by MyLookout.com

A new study shows that the most likely place in the United States to lose a mobile phone is in a coffee shop in Philadelphia. Information regarding specific locations where a mobile goes lost or is stolen was compiled from more than 15 millions users who used the Mobile Security smartphone application from Lookout Labs.

The nation lost around $30 billion in mobile phones in 2011, and Philadelphia was the number one city for reports within the software system. Philadelphia beat high-crime cities Cleveland, Newark, Detroit and Oakland as well as huge metropolitan areas like New York City.

Cost of Mobile Loss

Lookout Mobile Security application locates mobiles that have gone missing, allowing its users to recover their expensive electronics in many cases. Still, the company claims that there were 9 billion smartphones lost in 2011–one every 3.5 seconds. Lookout users alone lose $7 million in mobile phones every day. These numbers do not include individuals who have not opted for Lookout’s free protection application, so the numbers are likely to be much higher than these.

Losing mobile phones is never an inexpensive problem. Unless they are protected by an extended warranty option, many mobile users are charged the full retail price by their carriers for replacement phones. Usually, even if the protection plan has been purchased, the best a mobile subscriber can expect to receive is a refurbished phone that is comparable to the unit they lost–a new phone is not in the contract. Mobile apps like Mobile Security have the potential to save individual users hundreds of dollars in the event that a mobile is lost or stolen.

Loss Prevention

Coffee shops are where most people misplace their mobiles, but other likely places are bars, the work place, restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. Losses are most frequent between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Many people have used Lookout’s application to report a missing mobile phone that ended up being lost somewhere within their own homes.

Whether they are lost at home or out on the town, mobile phones are an important tool for most users. Far from simple communication tools, smartphones in particular can hold plenty of secure information. Misplacement or theft of a mobile device can leave people vulnerable to far greater loss. Many users access email, social media networks and even bank accounts from their phones. For this reason, experts suggest that a minimum security measure of a password is activated on any mobile phone. Often, downloading an application is unnecessary: Several operating systems include password protection for free. This measure is likely to stall the person who finds a mobile from accessing the sensitive data within its memory.

Both Apple iOS and Android have features that allow users to remotely lock or reset mobile passwords. In addition, it’s possible to completely wipe the information from a mobile without having it on your person with these programs and some third-party mobile applications, as well. Keeping a back-up file on a personal computer containing the data from a mobile is recommended so that this information does not become permanently lost.

About the Author: The article is written by Jaye Ryan, a freelance writer who loves to write about all kinds of mobile technology and devices for MobilePhones.org.uk.

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