AG: Watch out for violent smartphone thefts

By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued tips Monday on way consumers can protect themselves from the increasing risk of violent smartphone theft.

Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón are the co-chairs of the international Secure our Smartphones Initiative.

Schneiderman pointed to studies that show roughly 113 smartphones stolen or lost each minute in the U.S.

"This holiday season, as people across the country consider buying smartphones and tablets for their loved ones, they should have confidence that their gifts won't put family and friends at risk," Schneiderman said in a statement.

In the U.S., one in three thefts involves a mobile communications device, making it the number one property crime in America, he said. Consumer Reports said 1.6 million Americans had their smartphone stolen in 2012.

Here are some tips from the group, according to Schneiderman's office:

-- Use apps that deter theft and make it easier to find a lost phone.

-- Apple users should upgrade to the latest operating system, iOS 7, and confirm "Find My iPhone" is enabled.

-- Android users should activate the "Android Device Manager" to track a lost phone or to erase data.

-- Password protect your phone.

-- Be aware of your surroundings because smartphone thieves look for easy targets.


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