[From the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]
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. 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:
Cell Phone Safety Tips:
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. Tracking devices often lead to your stolen device and lots of other stolen property.
5. Distracted Walking and Talking: Be 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 love it when you do that, and while you talk, they grab.
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.
Partner to prevent or report crime by calling your local 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 http://lacrimestoppers.org/