Don’t lose your smartphone. It is as simple as that. It does not matter how secure your phone happens to be. Yes, some phones are more easily hackable than others. That is true. But all computing devices are vulnerable when a motivated thief has possession of the device.
Major companies don’t even try to recover lost or stolen devices. They just wipe and replace them. Even if they got a lost device back, they couldn’t trust it. The smart hacker will not keep the device, they will return it with some kind of trojan in place so that it continuously feeds them valuable information. The device is actually more valuable to the thief if the owner gets it back because the thief can gain access to secured, private networks and the sensitive information from everyone in the company. That is quite the haul.
Even if you are not a corporate target, you still have a lot to lose when you lose your phone. Without replacement insurance, you are going to have to purchase another one even if that means securing a quick personal loan. These days, no one can go without their main computing device for very long. You are likely not their exception.
Also, regardless of your worthiness as a target, most finders of lost phones try to access personal information. Even if they return your phone for the reward, the damage is already done. If you don’t have a passcode on your phone, they will access your credit card information, passwords, bank accounts, and everything else they can get their hands on. These are just a few reasons why you can’t afford to lose your phone:
Your Phone Is Your Wallet
Before smartphones, we carried fat wallets stuffed with all kinds of personal information, including things we shouldn’t keep in wallets such as social security cards and passports. A wallet is a one-stop shop for identity thieves. And they are surprisingly easy to pluck from a back pocket.
Guess what, smartphones are also surprisingly easy to pluck from back pockets. And people carry them in just that way. Furthermore, they carry all of that information on the phone. If your phone is your only payment source and you happen to lose it while out and about, good luck getting home. You can’t even call an Uber because that requires a smartphone app. Even if you have paper backups of everything at home, you will have to cancel everything and get new ones. In some ways, it was better to lose the wallet than smartphones.
Your Phone Is the Key to All of Your Accounts
If you are thinking that you can just dash home and close all of your accounts, think again. Once a thief has possession of your phone, they also have possession of the treasure-trove of passwords on your phone. The first thing the smart thief will do is log into your accounts and change the passwords so you can’t get back in. You can lose your Twitter account, your Facebook, Your AppleID can be compromised. Your Amazon Prime account is vulnerable. Every account that holds value could be suddenly and irrevocably locked to you because your phone fell into the wrong hands.
Your Photos Are Priceless
One of the great tragedies of modern life is that the best camera we own is the worst place to store the most important photos we take. A shocking percentage of people only have their photos located on their smartphone because that is where they took the picture. And they will not pay for online storage. They will only use free solutions or no solutions.
If you don’t have some sort of cloud backup of every photo you take, all those baby pictures, wedding pictures, and vacation pictures are lost to you forever when you lose your phone. This is just one of the reasons you need to do whatever it takes to keep up with it.
Smartphones serve the function of our external brain. Losing it is like getting a digital lobotomy. We lose our wallet, our accounts, and our photos along with the device. None of us can afford that loss.